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Sauk Valley College 

in Memory of 

Oscar Lindquist 
1975 




rfcJj PRiNTCD IN u:s.A. 



COLLECTIONS 

OF THE 

ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL 
LIBRARY 



EDITED BY 

CLARENCE WALWORTH ALVORD 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 



VOLUME XV 



ILLINOIS 
STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY 



BOARD OF TRUSTEES 

EvARTS BouTBLL Grbbnk^ President 

Charles Henry Rammelkamp, Vice-President 

Otto Leopold Schmidt, Secretary 



Jessie Palmer Weber, Lihrarian 



ADVISORY COMMISSION 

EvARTS Boutell Greene 

William Edward Dodd 

James Alton James 

Andrew Cunningham McLaughlin 

Edward Carleton Page 

Charles Henry Rammelkamp 

Clarence Walworth Alvord, ex o^ido 



BIOGRAPHICAL SERIES 

VOLUME I 



GOVERNOR EDWARD COLES 

Published in Celebration of the Centenary 
OF Illinois 




Lcu^jA/h^ cyuj 






COLLECTIONS OF THE ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY 

VOLUME XV 



BIOGRAPHICAL SERIES, VOLUME I 



GOVERNOR EDWARD COLES 



Edited with Introduction and Notes by 

CLARENCE WALWORTH ALVORD 

University of Illinois 



Published by the Trustees of the 

ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY 

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS 
1920 

SAUK VALLEY COLLEGE 

LRC 43G01 



Copyright, 1920 

BY 

Thh Illinois Statb Historical Library 



ILLINOIS printing COMPANY 
DANVILLE, ILLINOIS 



PREFACE 

Several forces have united in bringing this volume 
into being. Its inception was due to Mr. John A. 
Bingham of Vandalia, whose enthusiastic interest in 
the life of the most notable of the early governors of 
Illinois led him to Madison County, where in the circuit 
clerk's office were preserved the legal documents in a 
suit brought for political reasons against Coles by his 
opponents in the slavery struggle of 1823-1824. Mr. 
Bingham, feeling that the centennial year was a fitting 
occasion to pay merited honor to the man responsible 
for preserving Illinois as a free state, proposed as a 
memorial the publication of the documents and the 
reprinting of Washburne's Sketch of Edward Coles. 
For this project he secured the support of Governor 
Lowden, and it was suggested that the Centennial 
Commission undertake it. This proved to be impos- 
sible. Finally the Illinois State Historical Society 
consented to furnish the money provided the Illinois 
State Historical Library would permit the volume to be 
included in the Collections. Such is the history of this 
book. 

When the editing of the volume was placed in my 
hands it seemed advisable that the search for new 
material upon Governor Coles should be extended. 
The results of this further search have been on the 
whole rather rich and are presented in the later pages 
of the volume. They will be described more fully in 
this preface. 

The first and longest document here published is the 
well known Sketch of Edward Coles by Elihu B. Wash- 

iii 



iv ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

burne, which was prepared for the Chicago Historical 
Society and published under its auspices. The trustees 
of the Illinois State Historical Library desire me to 
express their appreciation for the courtesy of the 
Chicago Historical Society in permitting this reprint. 

The author of this sketch was born in Livermore, 
Maine, on September i6, 1816, and belonged to a 
family that won distinction by the services of five 
brothers to their respective states and the Union. 
Four served their country in Congress as representa- 
tives from different states; one was a senator; two 
became governors, and one served for seven years in 
the diplomatic service. These five Washburne broth- 
ers were in public service an aggregate of eighty-eight 
years. 

Ehhu Washburne's education was to a large extent 
in the school of experience. His first job was on a 
newspaper. After that he attended law school at 
Cambridge and in 1840 came west and settled in 
Galena, Illinois, where he soon gained recognition in 
politics. He served in Congress from 1 852-1869, and 
during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln was regarded 
as his spokesman. He early became a friend and 
admirer of General Grant and did all in his power to 
further his interests. It was not surprising that in 
1869 he was appointed Secretary of State, a position he 
almost immediately resigned to become minister to 
France. During the Franco-Prussian war he rendered 
service which gained the respect of both the French and 
the Germans, although on his first appearance he was 
not regarded as eminently fitted for a diplomatic 
career. At the close of his service in France in 1877, he 
settled in Chicago. There was talk of his candidacy 



PREFACE V 

for the presidency in 1880, and he actually was placed 
in nomination for the vice-presidency. He died on 
October 27, 1887. 

Gustave Koerner, who knew Mr. Washburne very 
well, says in his Memoirs that he "had been a most 
efficient member of Congress for five or six years, and 
had rendered most valuable service in guarding the 
Treasury against rings, jobs and corrupt lobbies, by 
which vigilance he had acquired the soubriquet of the 
* Watch-Dog of the Treasury.' He was thoroughly 
honest, and an exalted Union man."^ 

There follows the Sketch of Edward Coles by Wash- 
burne, the group of documents from the Circuit Court 
of Madison County, furnished by Mr. Bingham. 
These are limited to the lawsuit brought against 
Governor Coles for his failure to give bonds at the time 
of the manumission of his slaves. The suit was a 
purely political one, instituted only after the lapse of 
several years and by a person who could not possibly 
have been affected by the case. It was based, further- 
more, on a law which although passed, had not been 
promulgated at the time of Coles' alleged violation of 
it. The verdict of the Circuit Court was against 
Governor Coles, and a two thousand dollar fine was 
imposed.^ Upon appeal the case was heard before the 
Supreme Court of the state and the judgment of the 
lower court reversed.' 

The next five documents concern the period during 
which Coles was register of the land office at Edwards- 
ville. The longest of these is a report of land claims 

^Memoirs of Gustave Koerner, 2: 408. 

^S&tpost, 208. 

'The judgment of the Supreme Court is printed post, 21^-221. 



vi ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

at Peoria; it is purely local in its interest. The position 
of register naturally brought Coles into close connection 
with the organized agricultural interests in the state. 
A letter from him to Henry S. Dodge, secretary of the 
State Agricultural Society, describing his methods of 
breaking the prairie land is perhaps the best of this 
group. 

Two of his governor's messages form the more 
important part of the group covering the years 1823- 
1826. It is interesting to note the insistence upon an 
abolition of the last remnant of slavery or involuntary 
servitude. Several projects for state development are 
advanced. The more noteworthy of these touch upon 
the opening of new waterways, the careful choice of 
seminary lands, and a digest of the state laws. 

In a series of letters written to his agent in Illinois 
after his removal to Philadelphia, Coles shows himself 
as a man of business. These letters are purely personal 
in nature, but they are valuable for the insight they 
give into the financial interests which he succeeded in 
developing in spite of a life filled with official duties. 
All these letters may be found in the library of the 
Chicago Historical Society and were probably collected 
by Mr. Washburne during the preparation of his paper 
on Mr. Coles. 

On the whole, historians will find the next eleven 
documents most valuable. The first ten of these are 
taken from the Chicago Free West^ for the year 1854- 
1855, and represent a spirited controversy concerning 
the character and political career of Governor Coles. 
The writers. Hooper Warren, George Churchill (who 
contributed only one letter), and John M. Peck, were 
all participants in the convention struggle. They all 



PREFACE vii 

knew Edward Coles through close personal association, 
an association which made Warren strongly antagonis- 
tic and Peck a most loyal admirer. Although united 
in their opposition to the extension of slavery in the 
state, Warren's personal bitterness towards Coles pre- 
vented any real union of forces in the struggle, and 
obliged Coles to face a most complex situation. The 
controversy carried on through these ten letters arose 
as the result of a review of Governor Ford's History of 
Illinois, written by Hooper Warren and appearing in 
the Free West for December 21, 1854. Warren's criti- 
cism of the treatment of the convention struggle in 
Ford's volume drew a reply from Peck, and the two 
were promptly involved in an argumentative corre- 
spondence through the Free West. Both men had been 
actively connected with the political developments of 
1 823-1 824, and in this controversy the interplay of 
forces is disclosed without reserve. 

The last letter does not belong to this series. It 
was written by Edward Coles some twenty years after 
his removal to Philadelphia, in response to a request 
from the Chicago Historical Society for his memories 
of Morris Birkbeck. Through their long friendship 
and mutual interests, both in political affairs and in 
the development of improved agricultural methods, 
Coles was well qualified for the task, and the resulting 
memoir gives an excellent picture of the Englishman 
who played so important a part in the development of 
agriculture in early Illinois. 

As the last document there has been included the 
History of the Ordinance of lySy prepared by Mr. Coles 
in 1856 for the Pennsylvania Historical Society. It is 
as Mr. Coles himself says a mere sketch, but becau se 



viii ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of his familiarity with the later history of the territory, 
and his keen interest in the slavery measures of the 
ordinance, it deserves some notice. There are included 
also several miscellaneous documents, some of which 
are of no great importance in themselves, but which do 
assist in the formation of a complete picture. 

In order to preserve clearly the identity of the 
original Sketch of Edward Coles and prevent any con- 
fusion with regard to footnotes, those appearing in the 
original edition are indicated by asterisks, those added 
by the editor, by numerals. 

In closing it is a pleasure to me to express my 
obligation to Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber of the Illinois 
State Historical Library for her aid in the collection of 
material for this volume, and to Miss Caroline Mc- 
Ilvaine of the Chicago Historical Society, who has 
performed a similar service in the search for material 
in the collections of that society. In the performance 
of the work of editing I have had the assistance of 
Miss Nellie C. Armstrong of my staff, to whose care 
and enthusiasm the result is in large part due. 

Clarence Walworth Alvord 
Urbana, Illinois 
April 14, 1920 



Tllinois and Illinois men filled an important ^ if not the 
^ leading role in the struggle over slavery and in the war 
which resulted in its overthrow. Governor Edward Coles 
opened the battle for freedom in Illinois. It is almost 
certain that if it had not been for his persistence and 
courage^ slavery would have been written into the Illinois 
Constitution. The story of his struggle against the forces 
of slavery is one of the most inspiring in the annals of 
Illinois. If he had failed and Illinois had become a slave 
state., one wonders what the subsequent history of Illinois 
would have been. It is not likely that the great debate 
between Lincoln and Douglas would have occurred. It 
was this debate which made Lincoln president of the 
United States. Indeed, with Illinois a slave state, it is 
altogether possible that the Confederacy might have won. 
And thus the battle which Edward Coles, in the new and 
sparsely settled state, waged against the forces of slavery, 
becomes an event of historical importance of the first class 
It is therefore fitting that, as a part of our celebration of 
our hundredth anniversary as a state, we should gratefully 
call attention anew to the life and services of Edward Coles. 

Frank O. Lowden. 



SKETCH 



EDWARD COLES, 

SECOND GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS, 



AND OF THE 



SLAVERY STRUGGLE OF 1823-4. 

PREPARED FOR THE CHICAGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 



By E. B. WASHBURNE, 

HONORARY MEMBER OF THE SOCIETy. 



'The world knows nothing of its greatest men." 

— Philip Van Artevelde. 



CHICAGO: 

JANSEN, McCLURG & COMPANY. 



Sig. 2 



Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1881, 

BY JANSEN, McCLURG & COMPANY 

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 



TO THE 

HON. JOSEPH GILLESPIE. 

One of the connecting links between the earlier and the later 
Illinois, and who in his career as a lawyer, a magistrate and a 
citizen, has illustrated the history of our State for more than half 
a century, this Paper is dedicated, as a slight token of the pro- 
found respect and high esteem in which he is held by 

The Writer. 



Chicago, May, 18, 1881. 
Hon. E. B. Washburne: 

Dear Sir:- I have the honor to inform you that at a stated 
meeting of the Chicago Historical Society, held last evening on 
motion of Hon. I. N. Arnold, the following preamble and resolu- 
tion were unanimously adopted : 

"Whereas, The late Edward Coles, second Governor of Illinois, 
was one of the most interesting characters in American history, 
and especially distinguished for the great and important services he 
rendered in preventing the extension of slavery into this State; and 

Whereas, Many of the letters, papers and manuscripts of 
Gov. Coles have been placed, by his family, in the hands of our 
honored associate, the Hon. E. B. Washburne, with a view of 
preparing a Sketch of his life and services; and knowing that such 
a Sketch would be a most valuable and interesting contribution 
to the history of our State, and that Mr. Washburne, from his 
familiar knowledge of the history of Illinois, and his deep interest 
in the subject, would execute such work with fidelity, skill and 
ability : Therefore 

Resolved, That the Hon. E. B. Washburne, on behalf of the 
Chicago Historical Society, and all students of American Histor}^, 
is earnestly requested to prepare for this society and publish a 
Paper on Governor Edward Coles." 

I have the honor to be 

Very respectfully, 

Albert D. Hager, Secretary. 

Chicago, Illinois, May 26, 1881. 
Albert D. Hager, Esq., 

Secretary of Chicago Historical Society. 
Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of the 18th instant, enclosing the resolution of the Historical 
Society, requesting me to prepare for the Society a Paper on 
Governor Edward Coles. I have in my hands many of the papers, 
letters, manuscripts, &c., of Governor Coles, placed at my dis- 
position by his son, Edward Coles, Esq., of Philadelphia, and I 
have spent some time in examining and looking them over with a 
view to the publication of some notice of that distinguished man. 

6 



Whatever I may prepare, I will cheerfully contribute to the Soci- 
ety, unworthy and imperfect as the contribution may be. 

Important and interesting as the papers and correspondence 
which I have, may be found, there is a great deal lacking that is 
necessary for the full accomplishment of such a purpose as I have 
in view. Many years ago Governor Coles presented to the Alton 
Historical Society a large mass of books, papers, and documents, 
pertaining to the history of the State during his administration. 
He requested, however, that they might be lent to his old friend, 
the Rev. J. M. Peck, to be used in a historical collection he was 
then making. 

Unfortunately, Mr. Peck's house was consumed by fire, in- 
volving the destruction of all this invaluable material. I have, 
however, made the best use I could of what I have in hand, and 
my Paper, when finished, I will send to you to go into the archives 
of your Society. 

I have the honor to be. 
Very truly. 

Your obedient servant, 

E. B. Washburne, 



"Not being aware of any consideration which should restrain 
me, but on the contrary, believing that my present office increases 
the obligation I am under, as a good citizen, to exert myself to 
enlighten the minds of my fellow citizens, and strenuously oppose 
every measure which I am convinced is unjust in principle, or 
injurious in its effects, and believing slavery to be both injurious 
and impolitic, I believe myself bound, both as a citizen and an 
officer, to do all in my power to prevent its introduction into this 
State." 

(Letter of Governor Coles to Roberts Faux of Philadelphia, dated 
EdwardsvUhj Illinois, June 27, 1823.) 



"The part which thee has been called to act privately, as 
well as publicly and officially, in regard to the rights of mankind 
and for the upholding of the principles of justice and mercy to- 
ward a degraded and oppressed portion of our fellow beings, ought 
to be regarded as a manifestation of Providential power, concern- 
ing which we must always believe the same Divine interposition 
will be extended in every emergency. I am altogether satisfied 
that it is reserved for thee to witness the triumph of truth and 
beneficence in the struggle to which thee has been exposed, and 
what is of infinitely greater value, as it respects thyself, to reap 
a plenteous harvest in the most precious of all rewards — the appro- 
bation of Heaven! I feel a deep interest in thy character, and a 
lively gratitude for thy services, and it will always be among the 
purest consolations of my mind to be assured of thy welfare and 
happiness." 

(Letter of Roberts Vaux to Edward Coles, dated Philadelphia, 6 mo., 

14, 1824.) 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I. 

Paper Prepared for the Chicago Historical Society; The 
Character of Governor Coles Revealed; Little 
Known of him at the Present Day; His Relation to 
the Slavery Struggle of 1823-4, 15 

CHAPTER n. 

Edward Coles, born December 15, 1786, in Virginia; 
Educated at Hampden Sidney, and William and 
Mary College; His Class-mates; His Family; His 
Relations to the Distinguished Men of His Day; 
PrivateSecretary to Mr. Madison in 1809, .... 18 

CHAPTER HI. 

Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Coles; Their Correspondence in 
1814; The Letter of Mr. Coles; The Celebrated 
Answer of Mr. Jefferson; Correspondence Between 
Mr. Coles and Nicholas Biddle, . 22 

CHAPTER IV. 

Mr. Coles Resolves to Sell his Plantation in Virginia and 
Liberate His Slaves; Resigns as Private Secretary 
to Mr. Madison, in 1815; Visits the North-western 
Territory; Is Sent on a Mission to Russia; his Suc- 
cess, 36 

CHAPTER V. 

Mr. Coles removes to Illinois, with all his Negroes, in 
1819; Letter of Introduction from President Monroe 
to Gov. Edwards; His conduct in Regard to his 
Slaves; Difficulties in the Way of Freeing them; 
Journey to Illinois; Frees his Slaves; a Remarkable 
Scene, . 40 

9 



10 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER VI. 

Appointed Register of the Land Office at Edwardsville, 
by Mr. Monroe, in 1819; Makes Acquaintance of the 
People; Personal Appearance; Impression Made on 
the Pioneers of the Country; The Second Election 
for Governor in 1822; A Stump Canvass; Coles Elect- 
ed by a Small Plurality, through Division of the 
Opposing Party; Legislature Pro-Slavery; List of 
Members, ^S 

CHAPTER VII. 

Inaugurated as Governor, December, 1822; Sound Views 
on the Currency Question; Letter in Regard to the 
Title of his Office; Bold Denunciation of Slavery; 
The Effect of the Governor's Speech; The Opening 
up of the Great Question of Making Illinois a Slave 
State; Pro-slavery Majority in both Branches of the 
Legislature ; Plan Conceived to make a Slave Con- 
stitution, 

CHAPTER VIII. 



54 



The Existence of Slavery in Illinois; A Committee of the 
Legislature report in Favor of a Convention to Alter 
the Constitution; The Early Inhabitants of the 
State; Prejudice against the "Yankees;" Judge 
Gillespie's Statement of the Situation; Manner of 
Amending the Constitution; Difficulty of Getting 
the Requisite Vote in the Lower House; The Object 
to be Accomplished at all Hazards; Resisted in the 
Legislature; Letter of W. P. McKee; Reminicences 
of John Shaw, 59 

CHAPTER IX. 

Contest Between Hansen and Shaw in the Legislature; 
The Cry of "The Convention or Death;" All De- 
bate Stifled; Hansen Votes Against the Resolution; 



■CONTENTS 11 

Determination to Oust Him From His Seat; Col. 
Alexander P. Field; His Resolution Admitting Han- 
sen Reconsidered, and Shaw Admitted; His Vote 
Carries it; Gov. Coles Appoints Hansen Judge of 
Probate; Hansen's Letter, 68 

CHAPTER X. 

Triumph of the Convention Men ; Their Indecent Joy ; 
Stirring Address of the Anti-Convention Members 
of the Legislature; The Signers of the Address; 
Judge Gillespie's Sketches; Other Sketches; Alex- 
ander P. Field; His Checquered History, .... 83 

CHAPTER XI. 
The Convention Men Issue an Address to the People; 
The Weakness of the "Address;" Notice of Col. 
Cox; Early Incidents in Iowa Territory; the Battle 
of Bellevue; The First Constitution a Good One; 
Discontent of the People; Emmigration through the 
State, 106 

CHAPTER XII. 
Convention Contest Commences; Its Violence and Bit- 
terness; Description of it by Governors Ford and 
Reynolds and Wm. H. Brown; Hostility Towards 
Governor Coles; Insulting Demand upon him by the 
Senate; His Dignified and Conclusive Response; 
Letter to John G. Lofton, 110 

CHAPTER XIII. 
Governor Coles the Leader of the Anti-Convention 
Forces; Letter to Richard Flower; Governor Coles 
and Nicholas Biddle; Correspondence between them; 
Biddle Introduces Governor Coles to Roberts Vaux, 
of Philadelphia; Correspondence between Coles and 
Vaux; Another Letter of Mr. Biddle to Governor 
Coles- 117 



12 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Increasing Excitement on the Convention Question; 
Newspapers in the State; Leaders in the Contest on 
Both Sides; Labors and Activity of the Anti-Con- 
vention Men; Morris Birkbeck; Notice of Birkbeck; 
His Services to the Anti-Convention Cause; Corre- 
spondence between Coles and Birkbeck, .... 135 

CHAPTER XV. 

The Election Takes Place; Convention Scheme Defeated 
by More than Eighteen Hundred Majority; Con- 
vention Men Defeated, but they Rally under the 
Banner of Jackson; Get Control of the State; Birk- 
beck's Appointment as Secretary of State Rejected; 
His Death, 155 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Further Correspondence between Governor Coles and 
Roberts Vaux; Important and Interesting Letter of 
the Governor on the Situation; His Account of the 
Malicious Law Suit Instituted Against Him for Free- 
ing Slaves; His Noble Words in the Deed of Eman- 
cipation; The Prejudice of the Judge; Verdict 
Against Him for Two Thousand Dollars; Judgment 
Reversed; Beautiful Tribute of Mr. Vaux, . . . 162 

CHAPTER XVII. 

Letter of Mr. Vaux to Governor Coles; Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Hubbard Attempts to Usurp the office of Gov- 
overnor; Letter of Governor Coles to Mr. Vaux; 
Enforces his Views on Slavery in a Letter to John 
Rutherford; Views on the Pardoning Power; An Ex- 
tra Session of the Legislature called ; Visit of Lafayette 
to Illinois; Letter of Lafayette; Governor Coles sends 
his Aid to meet him; Reception of Gen. Lafayette, 173 



CONTENTS 13 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Valedictory Message of Governor Coles; His Tribute to 
Thomas Jefferson; His Recommendations to the 
Legislature; The "Black Code;" The Character of 
Governor Coles' Administration; Becomes a Candi- 
date for Congress in 1851 ; Beaten by Joseph Duncan; 
Coles County named after Him ; Settles in Philadel- 
phia in 1833; Marries Miss Roberts; His Private 
Life; His History of the Ordinance of 1787; Death in 
1868, 192 



GOVERNOR EDWARD COLES 

AND THE 

SLAVERY STRUGGLE OF 

1823-24 



CHAPTER I. 

Paper Prepared for the Chicago Historical Society; The 
Character of Governor Coles Revealed; Little Known 
of Him at the Present Day; His Relation to the Slavery 
Struggle of 1823:4; His Correspondence, Private 
Papers and Manuscripts in the Hands of his son, Ed- 
ward Coles, of Philadelphia. 

The Chicago Historical Society has done me the 
honor to invite me to prepare a Paper on Edward 
Coles, the second Governor of the State of Illinois. 
No sketch of Governor Coles would be complete with- 
out connecting with it a reference to the struggle to 
make Illinois a slave State, which occurred during his 
term of office, and in which he took so prominent and 
effective a part; I shall, therefore, not only speak of 
Governor Coles, but shall briefly trace the history 
of one of the most remarkable contests, not only in the 
annals of our State, but in the nation. 

What I shall make known to you of the character, 
the ability and the statesmanship of Edward Coles, 
will reveal to you a man whose life will, I am certain, 
challenge your admiration and respect, and whose 
services to our State will entitle him to the lasting 

15 



16 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

gratitude of us all. In him is illustrated the saying 
which Sir Henry Taylor puts into the mouth of Philip 
Van Artevelde:* 

"The world knows nothing of its greatest men." 

That there is so little known to the people of Illinois 
in relation to Governor Coles, is due to the fact of the 
comparatively short time he resided in the State (con- 
sidering that he had been Governor) , and to the further 
fact of his complete retirement from public life when 
yet a young man. 

Though a resident of the State for more than forty- 
one years, I must confess to have had only a general 
knowledge of the character of Governor Coles, and of 
the services he rendered to our commonwealth. I 
knew that he was Governor of the State at the most 
critical epoch of its history, and that all his official and 
personal influence had been wielded to save Illinois 
from that blighting curse of human slavery which had 
been attempted to be fastened upon a soil that was 
vSupposed to have been consecrated to freedom by the 
ordinance of 1787. What little knowledge I had, how- 
ever, inspired in me great respect for his character; 
and desirous to know more about him, I made my 
wishes and my purposes known to his son, Edward 
Coles, Esq., a well-known and highly respected citizen 
of Philadelphia, who has been kind enough to place in 
my hands much of the correspondence and many pri- 
vate papers and manuscripts of his father. A study 



*"He was one 

Of many thousand, such as die betimes, 

Whose story is a fragment known to few." 

— Philip Van Artevelde: A "Dramatic Roman 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 17 

of these papers and of the contemporary history of 
the State, enables me to contribute to the Society 
much that may not be generally known in regard to 
Governor Coles, and to aid, perhaps, in rescuing from 
forgetfulness and oblivion the name of a man whose 
memory should ever be cherished by the people of our 
State with pride and affection. 



CHAPTER II. 

Edward Coles, born December 15, 1786, in Albemarle 
County, Virginia; Educated at Hampden Sidney, and 
William and Mary College; His Class-Mates His 
Family; His Relations to the Distinguished Men of 
His Day; Made Private Secretary to Mr. Madison in 
1809; Resolves to Liberate his Slaves and Remove 
FROM Virginia. 

Edward Coles was born December 15th, 1786, in 
Albemarle County, Virginia, on the old family estate 
called "Enniscorthy," on the Green Mountain. His 
father was John Coles, who had been a colonel in the 
Revolutionary war. Having been fitted for college by 
private tutors, he was sent to Hampden Sidney, where 
he remained till the autumn of 1805, and was then 
removed to William and Mary College, at Williams- 
burg. He remained at William and Mary till the 
summer of 1807, when he left the college a short time 
before the final and graduating examination. Though 
Bishop Madison, cousin of President Maaison, then 
president of the college, was perfectly satisfied with 
the progress young Coles had made in his studies while 
under his supervision, it was impossible for him to 
graduate on account of a severe fracture of his leg, and 
which at one time threatened the loss of the limb. This 
so interfered with his studies that he got behind in his 
class. Among his class-mates who became distin- 
guished in public life, were Lieutenant-General Scott, 
President John Tyler, William S. Archer, United States 
Senator from Virginia, and Mr. Justice Baldwin, of the 
Supreme Court of the United States. The family of 

18 






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CHAPTER II. 

Edward Coles, born December 15, 1786, in Albemarle 
County, Virginia; Educated at Hampden Sidney, and 
William and Mary College; His Class-Mates His 
Family; His Relations to the Distinguished Men of 
His Day; Made Private Secretary to Mr. Madison in 
1809; Resolves to Liberate his Slaves and Remove 
FROM Virginia. 

Edward Coles was born December 15th, 1786, in 
Albemarle County, Virginia, on the old family estate 
called "Enniscorthy," on the Green Mountain. His 
father was John Coles, who had been a colonel in the 
Revolutionary war. Having been fitted for college by 
private tutors, he was sent to Hampden Sidney, where 
he remained till the autumn of 1805, and was then 
removed to William and Mary College, at Williams- 
burg. He remained at William and Mary till the 
summer of 1807, when he left the college a short time 
before the final and graduating examination. Though 
Bishop Madison, cousin of President Maciison, then 
president of the college, was perfectly satisfied with 
the progress young Coles had made in his studies while 
under his supervision, it was impossible for him to 
graduate on account of a severe fracture of his leg, and 
which at one time threatened the loss of the limb. This 
so interfered with his studies that he got behind in his 
class. Among his class-mates who became distin- 
guished in public life, were Lieutenant-General Scott, 
President John Tyler, William S. Archer, United States 
Senator from Virginia, and Mr. Justice Baldwin, of the 
Supreme Court of the United States. The family of 

18 



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WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 19 

Coles was at the time a prominent one in Virginia, and 
allied to some of the most distinguished politicians and 
statesmen of that ancient commonwealth. The first 
two years after leaving college young Coles spent at 
Enniscorthy in reading and study, going over the whole 
range of history and politics. Though the father. Col- 
onel John Coles, was not in public life, he had his most 
intimate friends among the distinguished politicians 
and statesmen of the day. The family mansion was 
the seat of the old-fashioned Virginian hospitality. It 
was visited by Patrick Henry, Jefferson, Madison, 
Monroe, the Randolphs, Tazewell, Wirt, and many 
others of the leading men of that time. The following 
letter of Patrick Henry to the father of Edward Coles, 
with 2i facsimile y may be found interesting: 

Red Hill, March 19th, 1797. 

Dear Sir:- Your Favor, by cousin Walter, I rec*. I am 
extremely obliged to you for the Attention you have paid to 
sister Woods' affair. Poor Woman, I wished to serve her, but 
am situated so far from her that I can never think of riding so 
far as her place. As Mr. Peter Johnston and his Family are to 
be here in a very little Time, I shall wait 'til I see him; and I hope 
to settle some plan with him which may answer. 

I refer to the young gentle'' for my opinion as to Lyle's 
Matter. I congratulate you on the very promising appearance 
of your two sons. They are fine Boys indeed. 

Mrs. Henry joins me in affectionate Regards to Mrs. Coles 
and the family, and I am. Dear sir, 

Affectionately yours, 

P. Henry. 

P.S. — When shall we see you all here? I want you to tell 
me how to manage my low grounds, and to make crops, &c., &c. 

The year 1809 found Edward Coles a young man 
twenty- three years of age, the proprietor of a planta- 



20 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tlon which his father had bequeathed to him before his 
death, the previous year, and a certain number of slaves. 
Of a poHshed education, fine personal appearance, good 
manners, and irreproachable character. President Madi- 
son tendered him the appointment of his private sec- 
retary, a position at that time of much dignity and 
importance. It was made particularly pleasant for 
young Coles, from the acquaintance of his family with 
Mr. Madison, and from the fact of his becoming a 
member of the Presidential household. 

It was in his earlier college days that Mr. Coles had 
first presented to his mind the abstract question 
whether or not man had a right of property in his 
fellow man. He read everything on the subject that 
came in his way, and listened to lectures on the rights of 
man. The more he studied, the more he reflected, the 
more impossible was it for him to reconcile the immortal 
declaration "that all men are born free and equal," 
with a state of society which held human beings in 
bondage. He resolved, therefore, in his own mind that 
he would not only not hold slaves himself nor live in a 
State which upheld the institution of slavery. One 
reason which determined him to accept the appoint- 
ment as private secretary to Mr. Madison was, because 
he believed that through acquaintances he could make 
at Washington, he could better determine in what part 
of the non-slaveholding portion of the Union it would 
be most advantageous for him to settle. Mr. Coles 
remained the private secretary of Mr. Madison for six 
years, enjoying in the fullest degree the confidence of 
that distinguished man. He soon acquired much 
knowledge of public affairs and of public men. His 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 21 

great intelligence and his sauvity of manner made him 
very useful to the President and very popular generally. 
He also enjoyed the confidence and friendship of Mr. 
Monroe, Mr. Jefferson and many noted men of the day, 
to a remarkable degree. 



CHAPTER III. 

Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Coles; Their Correspondence in 
1814; The Letter of Mr. Coles; The Celebrated Answer 
OF Mr. Jefferson; Correspondence Between Mr. Coles 
AND Nicholas Biddle. 

The relations of Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Coles seem to 
have been of a very friendly character, and arising from 
thesimilarity of their viewson the question of slavery, and 
their sympathy for each other in holding doctrines so 
much at variance with the prevailing sentiment in their 
own State. It was in July, 18 14, that Mr. Coles, still 
the private secretary of Mr. Madison, opened a corre- 
spondence with Mr. Jefferson, which drew forth from 
the latter the most pronounced views on the question 
of slavery that had ever been put forth by so distin- 
guished a man residing in a slave-holding community. 
I present here the correspondence. Nothing can better 
illustrate the character and deep convictions of Mr. 
Coles than his letter to Mr. Jefferson, dated July 14, 
1 8 14, and which shows how deeply he felt on the 
subject of slavery: 

Edward Coles to Tho7nas Jefferson 

Washington, July 31, 1814. 
Dear Sir:- I never took up my pen with more hesitation, or 
felt more embarrassment than I now do in addressing you on the 
subject of this letter. The fear of appearing presumptuous dis- 
tresses me, and would deter me from venturing thus to call your 
attention to a subject of such magnitude, and so beset with diffi- 
culties as that of a general emancipation of the slaves of Virginia, 
had I not the highest opinion of your goodness and liberality, in 
not only excusing me for the liberty I take, but in justly appre- 
ciating my motives in doing so. 

22 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 23 

I will not enter on the right which man has to enslave his 
brother man, nor upon the moral and political effects of slavery 
on individuals or on society; because these things are better under- 
stood by you than by me. My object is to entreat and beseech 
you to exert your knowledge and influence in devising and getting 
into operation some plan for the gradual emancipation of slavery. 
This difficult task could be less exceptionally and more success- 
fully performed by the revered fathers of all our political and 
social blessings than by any succeeding statesmen; and would 
seem to come with peculiar propriety and force from those whose 
valor, wisdom and virtue have done so much in ameliorating the 
condition of mankind. And it is a duty, as I conceive, that 
devolves particularly on you, from your known philosophical and 
enlarged view of subjects, and from the principles you have pro- 
fessed and practiced through a long and useful life, pre-eminently 
distinguished as well by being foremost in establishing on the 
broadest basis the rights of man, and the liberty and independence 
of your country, as in being throughout honored with the most 
important trust by your fellow citizens, whose confidence and love 
you have carried with you into the shades of old age and retire- 
ment. In the calm of this retirement you might, most benefici- 
ally to society, and with much addition to your own fame, avail 
yourself of that love and confidence to put into complete practice 
those hallowed principles contained in that renowned Declaration, 
of which you were the immortal author, and on which we founded 
our right to resist oppression and establish our freedom and inde- 
pendence. 

I hope the fear of failing, at this time, will have no influence 
in preventing you from employing your pen to eradicate this most 
degrading feature of British Colonial policy, which is still per- 
mitted to exist, notwithstanding its repugnance as well to the 
principles of our revolution as to our free institutions. For how- 
ever prized and influential your opinions may now be, they will 
still be much more so when you shall have been taken from us by 
the course of nature. If therefore your attempt should now fail 
to rectify this unfortunate evil — an evil most injurious both to 
the oppressed and to the oppressor — at some future day when 
your memory will be consecrated by a grateful posterity, what 



24 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

influence, irresistible influence will the opinions and writings of 
Thomas Jefferson have in all questions connected with the rights 
of man, and of that policy which will be the creed of your disciples. 
Permit me then, my dear Sir, again to entreat your great powers 
of mind and influence, and to employ some of your present leisure, 
in devising a mode to liberate one-half of our fellow beings from 
an ignominious bondage to the other, either by making an immedi- 
ate attempt to put in train a plan to commence this goodly work, 
or to leave human nature the invaluable Testament — which you 
are so capable of doing — how best to establish its rights: so that 
the weight of your opinion may be on the side of emancipation 
when that question shall be agitated, and that it will be sooner 
or later is most certain. That it may be soon is my most ardent 
prayer — that it will be, rests with you. 

I will only add as an excuse for the liberty I take in address- 
ing you on this subject which is so particularly interesting to me, 
that from the time I was capable of reflecting on the nature of 
political society, and of the rights appertaining to man, I have 
not only been principled against slavery, but have had feelings so 
repugnant to it as to decide me not to hold them; which decision 
has forced me to leave my native State, and with it all my relations 
and friends. This I hope will be deemed by you some excuse for 
the liberty of this intrusion, of which I gladly avail myself to 
assure you of the very great respect and esteem with which I am, 
my dear Sir, your very sincere and devoted friend, 

Edward Coles. 

Thomas Jefferson. 

The celebrated answer of Mr. Jefferson to this 
letter, though before published, will bear to be re- 
printed: 

MONTICELLO, Av.'Z. 1^ 1814. 

Dear Sir:- lour favor of July 31 was duly received, and 
was read with peculiar pleasure; the sentiments breathed through 
the whole do honor to both the head and heart of the writer. 
Mine on the subject of the slavery of negroes have long since 
been in possession of the public, and time has only served to give 



ZgUu.a^ Cfi^ &^ 



<4atJL, taU (i^ / J, . . 

' ' ' ^ bve of country 

jTi-aA- i^eru/r ^u^ejcAH mujtx^ u^^ o^a ^^&£^jl^ di/t\uiorta\ reproach 

. y , -^ / rf lin, and should 

^ A^tu^^au.iO frr^ fy^SlirUi^M^k^ ayruii'' Present con- 
' f '^ / ^ those of the 

when I came 
with England 

to be hoped. 

the degraded 
tunate beings, 
h the work of 
/^ 5- tn.4X. yau^ yjj^ "^ f^ t/t^oUr^^ ieXtl^ doubted but 

fh jrr^rrv^yr- ^.d.^Uc4f //^^i*^ '^ /i^ *t,n^ ^JoniaT lifeTad 

1 the value of 
; of their own, 
the principles 
second session 
to this subject 
lest, and most 
certain moder- 
2se people. I 
s more spared 

his country, 
rom an early 
were assigned 

arope in 1789, 

1 1809, I had 
)Hc sentiment 

younger gen- 
ame of liberty 
as it were the 
nperament of 
id above the 
th oppression 

beyond their 
ce my return, 



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24 ILLIN **^**f^*''^^^ c/k^'^ Cn-tvLflvf-^'fUJ^ e^Alvn cu6. 

influence, irresis 1/ v^ / /? * 

Thomas Jefl?-ersc^ ^^tt^^^v^^^, ^ i^tnM.(^^ h^m^nra^^(^ 

Permit me then 

of mind and inflv'>-e.^|^>^6^. 

in devising a m^ 

an ignominious 1 

ate attempt to ] 

or to leave hun 

are so capable < 

the weight of y 

when that ques 

or later is most 

prayer— that it;^^ Z 

I will only 
ing you on this 
that from the 
political society 
not only been \ 
repugnant to it 
has forced me t 
and friends. T 
the liberty of 
assure you of t 
my dear Sir, yi 

Thomas Jeffe 

The cele 
letter, thou{ .^ 

princed: v^<Tij-«^ rnv^Cj^M .ife!^fe>^~5>S 

Dear Sir:- 
was read with 

the whole do JHs. 

Mine on the 
been in posses; -;>-v-•'r>...-^^.v ,5. jr-j-t^'^r-A 






WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 25 

them stronger root. The love of justice and the love of country- 
plead equally the cause of these people, and it is a mortal reproach 
to us that they should have pleaded it so long in vain, and should 
have produced not a single effort, nay I fear not much serious 
willingness, to relieve them and ourselves from our present con- 
dition of moral and political reprobation. From those of the 
former generation who were in the fullness of age when I came 
into public life, which was while our controversy with England 
was on paper only, I soon saw that nothing was to be hoped. 
Nursed and educated in the daily habit of seeing the degraded 
condition, both bodily and mental, of those unfortunate beings, 
not reflecting that that degradation was very much the work of 
themselves and their fathers, few minds had yet doubted but 
that they were as legitimate subjects of property as their horses 
or cattle. The quiet and monotonous course of colonial life had 
been disturbed by no alarm, and little reflection on the value of 
liberty; and when alarm was taken at an enterprise of their own, 
it was not easy to carry them the whole length of the principles 
which they invoked for themselves. In the first or second session 
of the legislature after I became a member, I drew to this subject 
the attention of Colonel Bland, one of the oldest, ablest, and most 
respected members, and he undertook to move for certain moder- 
ate extensions of the protection of the laws to these people. I 
seconded his motion, and, as a younger member, was more spared 
in the debate; but he was denounced as an enemy to his country, 
and was treated with the grossest indecorum. From an early 
stage of our revolution, other and more distant duties were assigned 
to me, so that from that time till my return from Europe in 1789, 
and I may say till I returned to reside at home in 1809, I had 
little opportunity of knowing the progress of public sentiment 
here on this subject. I had always hoped that the younger gen- 
eration, receiving their early impressions after the flame of liberty 
had been kindled in every breast, and had become as it were the 
vital spirit of every American; that the generous temperament of 
youth, analogous to the motion of their blood, and above the 
suggestions of avarice, would have sympathized with oppression 
wherever found, and proved their love of liberty beyond their 
own share of it. But my intercourse with them since my return, 



OAJIf/ Mhl I r-X/ r%r\t I r-r%.if* 



26 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

has not been sufficient to ascertain that they had made towards 
this point the progress I had hoped. Your solitary but welcome 
voice is the first which has brought this sound to my ear, and I 
have considered the general silence which prevails on this subject 
as indicating an apathy unfavorable to every hope, yet the hour 
of emancipation is advancing in the march of time. It will come; 
and whether brought on by the generous energy of our own minds, 
or by the bloody process of St. Domingo, excited and conducted 
by the power of our present enemy, if once stationed permanently 
within our country, and offering asylum and arms to the oppressed, 
is a leaf of our history not yet turned over. 

As to the method by which this difficult work is to be effected, 
if permitted to be done by ourselves, I have seen no proposition 
so expedient on the whole, as that of emancipation of those born 
after a given day, and of their education and expatriation at a 
proper age. This would give time for a gradual extinction of that 
species of labor and substitution of another, and lessen the sever- 
ity of the shock which an operation so fundamental cannot fail 
to produce. The idea of emancipating the whole at once, the old 
as well as the young, and retaining them here, is of those only 
who have not the guide of either knowledge or experience of the 
subject; for men probably of any color, but of this color we know, 
brought up from their infancy without necessity for thought or 
forecast, are by their habits rendered as incapable as children of 
taking care of themselves, and are extinguished promptly where- 
ever industry is necessary for raising the young. In the meantime 
they are pests in society by their idleness, and the depredations to 
which this leads them. Their amalgamation with the other color 
produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover 
of excellence in the human character, can innocently consent. 

I am sensible of the partialities with which you have looked 
towards me as the person who should undertake this salutary but 
arduous work; but this, my dear Sir, is like bidding old Priam to 
buckle the armor of Hector ' 'trementibus aevo humeris et inutile 
Jerrum cingiy No, I have overlived the generation with which 
mutual labors and perils begat mutual confidence and influence. 
This enterprise is for the young, for those who can follow it up 
and bear it through to its consummation. It shall have all my 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 27 

prayers, and these are the only weapons of an old man. But in 
the meantime, are you right in abandoning this property, and 
your country with it? I think not. My opinion has ever been, 
that until more can be done for them, we should endeavor, 
with those whom fortune has thrown on our hands, to feed 
and clothe them well, protect them from ill usage, require 
such reasonable labor only as is performed voluntarily by freemen 
and be led by no repugnancies to abdicate them, and our duties 
to them. The laws do not permit us to turn them loose, if that 
were for their good; and to commute them for other property is 
to commit them to those whose usage of them we cannot control. 
I hope then, my dear sir, you will reconcile yourself to your 
country, and its unfortunate condition; that you will not lessen 
its stock of sound disposition by withdrawing your portion from 
the mass, that, on the contrary you will come forward in the pub- 
lic councils, become the missionary of this doctrine truly christian, 
insinuate and inculcate it softly but steadily thro' the medium of 
writing and conversation, associate others in your labors, and 
when the phalanx is formed, bring on and press the proposition 
perseveringly until its accomplishment. It is an encouraging 
observation that no good measure was ever proposed which, if 
duly pursued, failed to prevail in the end; we have proof of this 
in the history of the endeavors in the British parliament to sup- 
press that very trade which brought this evil on us, and you will 
be supported by the religious precept "be not wearied in well 
doing.' ' That your success may be as speedy and complete, as it 
will be of honorable and immortal consolation to yourself, I shall as 
fervently and sincerely pray, as I assure you of my great friend- 
ship and respect. 

Th. Jefferson. 
P. S. Will you give to the enclosed letter the proper address 
of place to find your brother? 

Mr. Coles acknowledged the receipt of the letter of 
Mr. Jefferson as follows: 

This letter of Mr. Jefferson, one of the most remark- 
able and one of the most honorable to his character he 
ever wrote, is given, also, m facsimile. 



28 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Letter from Edward Coles to Thomas Jefferson. 

Washington, Sep. 26th, '14. 

I must be permitted again to trouble you, my dear Sir, to 
return my grateful thanks for the respectful and friendly attention 
shown to my letter in your answer of the 25th ult. Your favor- 
able reception of sentiments not generally avowed, if felt, by our 
countrymen, but which have ever been so inseparably interwoven 
with my opinions and feelings as to become, as it were, the rudder 
that shapes my course, even against a strong tide of interest and 
of local partialities, could not but be in the highest degree grati- 
fying to me. And your interesting and highly prized letter con- 
veying them to me in such flattering terms, would have called 
forth my acknowledgments before this but for its having been 
forwarded to me to the Springs, and from thence it was again 
returned here before I received it, which was only a few days 
since. 

Your indulgent treatment encourages me to add that I feel 
very sensibly the force of your remarks on the impropriety of 
yielding to my repugnancies in abandoning my property in slaves 
and my native State. I certainly should never have been inclined 
to yield to them if I had supposed myself capable of being instru- 
mental in bringing about a liberation, or that I could by my 
example ameliorate the condition of these oppressed people. If 
I could be convinced of being in the slightest degree useful in 
doing either, it would afford me very great happiness, and the 
more so as it would enable me to gratify many partialities by 
remaining in Virginia. But never having flattered myself with 
the hope of being able to contribute to either, I have long since 
determined, and should but for my bad health ere this, have re- 
moved, carrying along with me those who had been my slaves, 
to the country northwest of the river Ohio. 

Your prayers I trust will not only be heard with indulgence 
in Heaven, but with influence on Earth. But I cannot agree with 
you that they are the only weapons of one at your age; nor that 
the difficult work of cleansing the escutcheon of Virginia of the 
foul stain of slavery can best be done by the young. To expect 
so great and difficult an object, great and extensive powers, both 
of mind and influence, are required, which can never be possessed 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 29 

In so great a degree by the young as by the old. And among the 
few of the former who might unite the disposition with the requi- 
site capacity, they are too often led by ambitious views to go 
with the current of popular feeling rather than to mark out a 
course for themselves, where they might be buffeted by the waves 
of opposition; and indeed it is feared that these waves would in 
this case be too strong to be effectually resisted by any but those 
who had gained by a previous course of useful employment the 
firmest footing in the confidence and attachment of their country. 
It is with them, therefore, I am persuaded, that the subject of 
emancipation must originate; for they are the only persons who 
have it in their power effectually to arouse and enlighten the public 
sentiment, which in matters of this kind ought not to be expected 
to lead, but to be led; nor ought it to be wondered at that there 
should prevail a degree of apathy with the general mass of man- 
kind, where a mere passive principle of right has to contend against 
the weighty influence of habit and interest. On such a question 
there will always exist in society a kind of vis inertia^ to arouse 
and overcome, which requires a strong impulse, which can only 
be given by those who have acquired a great weight of character, 
and on whom there devolves in this case a most solemn obligation. 
It was under these impressions that I looked to you, my dear Sir, 
as the first of our aged worthies to awaken our fellow-citizens 
from their infatuation to a proper sense of justice, and to the true 
interest of their country; and by proposing a system for the grad- 
ual emancipation of our slaves, at once to form a rallying point 
for its friends, who enlightened by your wisdom and experience, 
and supported and encouraged by your sanction and patronage, 
might look forward to a propitious and happy result. Your time 
of life I had not considered as an obstacle to the undertaking. 
Doctor Franklin, to whom, by the way, Pennsylvania owes her 
early riddance of the evils of slavery, was as actively and as use- 
fully employed on as arduous duties after he had past your age 
as he had ever been at any period of his life. 

With apologizing for having given you so much trouble on 
this subject, and again repeating my thanks for the respectful and 
flattering attention you have been pleased to pay to it, I renew 



30 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the assurances of the great respect and regard which makes me 
most sincerely yours 

Edward Coles. 

During the time that Mr. Coles was the private 
secretary of Mr. Madison, an intimate friendship seems 
to have sprung up between him and Nicholas Biddle, 
afterward president of the United States Bank, and 
whose name subsequently cut such a figure in our 
history. Mr. Coles and Mr. Biddle maintained for 
many years a friendly and voluminous correspondence. 
I have a large number of private letters of Mr, Biddle 
to Mr. Coles, the first dated in 1813. They are a model 
of epistolary correspondence. 

Mr. Biddle was a memberof the Pennsylvania State 
Senate in 18 14 and '15, and letters written by him at 
that time to Mr. Coles have a certain political interest, 
even at this day: 

LeUer of Mr. Biddle to Mr. Coles. 

Harrisburg, Jan'y 17, 1815. 

My Dear Coles: — Your last letter followed me to Harrisburg, 
and I am both ashamed and sorry not to have answered it sooner, 
as I might thus have had another letter from you. 

I have been bearing my misfortunes here very philosophically 
and filling my time with all the grave, dull matters which occupy 
us. Among other things, I proposed the other day a draft of 8 or 
9 thousand men to serve for a year — a measure which in six weeks 
would have given us a fine army. By dint of hard speaking it 
was carried thro' the Senate by a vote of 21 to 9, but in the H. of 
R. the name of conscription is given to it; and as that horrible 
name, which has frightened all the old women, both in petticoats 
and pantaloons, is as fatal as a mad dog, the bill will be lost. 
Such is the infatuation of party that my political friends are quite 
astonished at my having any concern in such a diabolical affair; 
and altho' the bill is almost a copy of an old act of Assembly in 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 31 

178 1, with much milder provisions, still there are many worthy- 
persons who think that the bill is the work of Bonaparte. We 
shall next resort to a project of raising regular troops by voluntary 
enlistment, and if we can first raise the money for bounties, then 
the men, in some months from this, after the capture of Phil^ 
perhaps we shall be prepared with a most reasonable supply of 
men. 

But here, as in Congress, there seems to be a lamentable want 
of that energy which the crisis requires. Unless your Congress 
acts with more propriety they will be abandoned by those who 
have hitherto been their warmest supporters. Only a short time 
ago, a leading member of your party told me of his intention of 
submitting resolutions censuring the tardiness of the honorable 
Congress — and I, so little of a promoter of mischief among you 
politicians, that I dissuaded him from it, as exhibiting an appear- 
ance of divisions which might be injurious, so let the Congressmen 
look to it. What is this languid, miserable disease that afflicts 
Congress? There seems to be neither energy, talent, nor any- 
thing else among your majority. For God's sake, try to animate 
them to something generous and energetic. Mr. Monroe and Mr. 
Dallas must be provoked beyond measure at the course of affairs. 
Flow does the latter come on? I have heard that he is not very 
popular at Washington. 

I have just heard from Mrs. Biddle, who is in good health, 
and from Craig, who amuses himself as much as ever. Will you 
not visit us this winter? I have been such a politician that I have 
not visited Phil* but once, and for a few days, since first I came 
here. 

God bless you, 

Aff'y y'rs, 

Nicholas Biddle. 

Letter from Mr. Biddle to Mr. Coles. 

Philadelphia, Feb. 19, 1815. 

My Dear Sir: — I give you joy most cordially of the glorious 

pacification which I have just been reading. We are in truth a 

most favored and happy nation. To have carried on triumphantly 

a war so unequal and inauspicious, and now when our forces began 



32 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to fail and our means were almost exhausted, to be thus blessed 
with peace on honorable terms, is an abundance of good fortune 
which we had no right to expect. I rejoice at it with all my heart. 
God knows it was time for us to make peace, for between the 
Yankees and the Congress our affairs have been managed most 
sadly. If things had gone on thus much longer, I should have 
begun to pray for some Cromwell from the Navy Yard (that is 
the Navy Yard that was,) to clear the Hall of the Representatives 
and send them home. But now these good tidings put one in so 
pleasant a temper that we can forget all that has passed and look 
forward to the peaceful prosperity which awaits us. 

I have come down rather unexpectedly, in consequence of a 
slight indisposition of Mrs. Biddle. She is much better. She is 
reading by my side, and desires to be remembered very kindly to 
you. Craig has just left us to go to Mr. Kentzow's. In a day 
or two I shall return to my den and make speeches. Fortunately 
the States have lost all their importance since the peace, and here- 
aiter we shall content ourselves with making roads and fish-dams. 
This winter's campaign has not made me exceedingly enamored 
of senatorial dignity. It is very dull and stupid, and the only 
good thing I wished to do in the military way has so astonished 
all my orthodox political friends, that I run some risk of being 
damned at least, if not burned, for a heretic. These things do 
not affect me much. When a man takes the trouble of passing 
the winter in a vile country town, he should at least have the privi- 
lege of doing as he pleases. Shall we not see you when Congress 
adjourns? Now you have carried the treaties of England and 
of the Creeks, and put us at peace with the world, you might 
find leisure for a visit. We shall all be very glad to see you 
again. 

Affect'y and Sincerely Y'rs, 

N. Biddle. 

Letter of Mr. Biddle to Mr. Coles. 

Feb'y 25, 1818. (1815?) 

Philadelphia. 
My Dear Coles: — I have had the pleasure of receiving your 
letter of the i8th, and must beg you to receive my thanks for the 
friendly interest you have taken in what concerns me. 



WASHBVRNE'S EDWARD COLES 33 

With regard to the first subject of your letter, the informa- 
tion, altho' such as I anticipated, is still of some importance. 
Whilst the rumors in relation to myself were so widely circulated, 
however destitute of foundation I knew them to be, I could not 
remain totally insensible to them in deciding upon my course of 
life for the next few years. I am therefore glad to know distinctly 
how that matter stands. No person in the country would, I hope, 
be less disposed than myself to advance anything like a pretension 
to any place whatever. I certainly could not suppose that the 
President would suffer his personal regard for me to outweigh the 
obvious considerations connected with appointments of that 
sort — and the only anxiety I feel, is that in ascertaining the matter 
of fact, there was no appearance of an expression of a wish on my 
part. I rely very implicitly on your judgment, that nothing of 
that sort could be conjectured from the manner in which the sub- 
ject was presented. How great that reliance is you need not be 
told, since you are the only person to whom the subject was or 
will be mentioned. 

I have not as yet decided on the course which I may pursue 
for some time to come. With my habits the career of a public 
man is not without attractions. My experience of the last few 
years however, has not, I confess, strengthened my early pre- 
dilection for that mode of life. Perhaps I begin to feel a decay of 
that vigorous ambition which some years ago would have carried 
me thro' every scene of public trouble, and given an animated 
interest to every public transaction. Perhaps I have lived too 
easily and too happily. Whatever be the cause, it is very certain 
that I feel no desire to resume a legislative station — and if the 
question were now proposed, I think that after balancing the 
hopes of usefulness to the country, and of personal distinction 
against the disagreeable things inseparable from that sort of life, 
I should decline an election to Congress. It is not improbable 
from the present situation of the District, that if I were disposed 
to use any exertion, I should have a reasonable chance of success. 
Whether, however, success be worth the attempt is the question 
at present. To go to Congress would probably interfere more- 
over with a project about which we have talked a great deal — of 
spending some years in Europe. The time when we shall go must 



34 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

depend in a great degree on the situation of my family, but I feel 
some reluctance in contracting an engagement which might pre- 
vent that object. After all the decision of these things must be 
left to the course of events. 

We have no news worth communicating to one who is drinking 
at the fountain-head. 

The town is gay, and likely to continue so for some time. 
Among my regrets at not being here when you first came, one of 
the strongest is my not having had an opportunity of making you 
see and know Joseph Bonaparte. I have lately seen a good deal 
of him, and really he is by far the most interesting stranger I have 
seen in this country. He is free and communicative, and talks 
of all the great events and the great persons of his day with a 
frankness which assures one of his good nature as well as of his 
veracity. I am going to dine with him as soon as I finish this letter. 

Mrs. Biddle desires to be particularly remembered to you, 
and bids me to warn you against the shepherdesses of the Illinois. 
Write to me before you leave Washington, and believe me always 
very aff^'t'y y'rs, 

Nicholas Biddle. 

Letter from Mr. Biddle to Mr. Coles. 

Harrisburg, March ii, 1815. 

My Dear Sir: — I thank you kindly for your note in relation 
to my brother; I do not, however, perceive in the papers that the 
nominations are confirmed. 

I send you a report on subject of the Hartford amendments; 
I drew it up as well because I think those amendments injudicious 
as because I was desirous of preventing the adoption of another 
report abusing the New England people. So many delusions 
have been propagated on the subject, that I thought it might be 
of service to make a moderate and candid statement — and this 
the more readily because we in Pennsylvania seem to be the 
natural mediators between you Southern people and the wise 
men of the East. I do not ask you to read so long a story, unless 
on some rainy day when you are in Albemarle and have nothing 
else to do. 

This is the last evening we shall be in session, and I write in 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 35 

the midst of the tumult of business which you know is crowded 
into the few last hours of the existence of a legislative body. I 
did not tell you that Mrs. Biddle, tired of my absence, has come 
to stay with me, and is now here. Shall we not see you this sum- 
mer? Now that war and all its troubles are over, you are entitled 
to some recreation. 

Sincerely and afF'y y'rs, 

N. Biddle. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Mr. Coles Resolves to Sell his Plantation in Virginia and 
Liberate his Slaves; Resigns as Private Secretary to 
Mr. Madison, in 1815; Visits the North-western Terri- 
tory; Extends his Journey to Kaskaskia and St. Louis; 
On his Return, Mr. Madison Sends him on a Mission to 
Russia; His Removal to the North-west Delayed; The 
Success of His Mission; Countries on the Continent 
and Great Britain Visited. 

In 1 8 14, after the conclusion of peace with Great 
Britain, Mr. Coles thought himself enabled to remove 
the obstacles in his way to selling his plantation and to 
leave the State and liberate his slaves. Accordingly 
in the following year, 1815, he resigned his position 
as private secretary, and spent a portion of the follow- 
ing autumn in exploring the North-western territory, 
for the purpose of finding a location and purchasing 
land on which to settle his negroes. This trip was made 
with a horse and buggy, having with him also a servant 
and a saddle-horse. It was thus that he travelled 
through many parts of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and 
then crossed the Mississippi to Missouri. He reached 
St. I.ouis, than a little French village, and now become 
so great and prosperous a city, in October of that year 
(18 1 5), by way of Shawneetown and Kaskaskia, and 
which could then boast of but one brick house. Send- 
ing his servant back with one of his horses to Virginia, 
Mr. Coles descended the Mississippi to New Orleans, 
and thence went by sea to Savannah, Georgia. From 
thence he pushed his way to Charleston, and from there 
to his home at Enniscorthy. 

36 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 37 

It was at this time that there arose a serious mis- 
understanding between our government and Russia. 
The Emperor had considered himself purposely in- 
sulted by our government, and had threatened to expel 
or imprison our consul at St. Petersburg, who was then 
acting as our Charge d'Affaires in the absence of the 
Minister. William Pinkney, of Maryland, had been 
appointed minister to Russia on the 7th of March, 18 16, 
but he was then at Naples, detained on public business. 
It was feared that he would find difficulty in reaching 
St. Petersburg, if not prevented going there at all. Mr. 
Pinkney, holding already the appointment of Minister, 
another one could not be sent. Mr. Madison, there- 
fore, looked around for some able and discreet person 
whom he could send to Russia to smooth over the 
difficulties. Mr. Coles had lately been his private sec- 
retary, a member of his own family, and who enjoyed 
his fullest confidence. He therefore selected him for 
this very delicate and important mission. Although 
Mr. Coles' arrangements had already been made to 
settle in Illinois, he was so strongly urged by Mr. 
Madison to undertake the mission, that he consented 
to do so. To emphasize it, Mr. Coles was sent to 
Russia on a man-of-war, the "Prometheus," Captain 
Wadsworth. She sailed from Boston in the summer of 
1 8 16. The ''Prometheus" was the first vessel of our 
navy which had ever sailed up the Baltic. Mr. Coles 
remained some three months at St. Petersburg await- 
ing the return of Emperor Alexander, who was then on 
a visit to Moscow and Poland. On the return of the 
Emperor the difficulties were, upon the explanations of 
Mr. Coles, most happily adjusted. The troubles grew 



38 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

out of matters connected with the Russian Minister at 
Washington, DashkofF; and the Emperor, to signify 
to the United States his disposition, after a knowledge 
of all the facts, offered to inflict any punishment on the 
offending Minister which the President of the United 
States might desire, and threatened to send him to 
Siberia. Mr. Coles very properly replied that our gov- 
ernment had no suggestion to make in regard to any 
punishment of the offending Minister, but merely 
wished to have him recalled, which was promptly done. 

The "Prometheus" did not remain to bring Mr. 
Coles back to the United States. After concluding his 
diplomatic business, he made a journey in his private 
carriage from St. Petersburg to Berlin. The fact that 
he had been sent in a diplomatic capacity to Russia in 
an American man-of-war, and the complete success of 
his mission, gave him the entree into diplomatic and 
official circles wherever he went in Europe. He was 
presented in his diplomatic capacity to Louis XVIII, 
of France, by Mr. Gallatin, United States Minister at 
that time. At a dinner at Mr. Gallatin's on the same 
day, he met for the first time General La Fayette. 
Their mutual acquaintance with Jefferson, Madison, 
Monroe, and many other men of the revolutionary 
times, procured for Mr. Coles an exceedingly cordial 
reception, and led to his being much in the company 
of La Fayette during his stay in Paris. 

After three months sojourn in Paris, Mr. Coles 
passed over to England, where he spent many weeks 
in London, and then making a tour through England, 
Scotland, Ireland and Wales, he sailed from Liverpool 
for New York. 



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WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 39 

The following is the letter offering this mission to 
Mr. Coles. The facsimile is presented: ' 

[ConfideniiaL] 

MONTPELIER, July 7, 1816. 

Dear Sir: — Circumstances have arisen which make it expedi- 
ent to forward communications to St. Petersburg by a special 
hand. Would the trip be agreeable to you ? You probably know 
the allowance usual on such occasions. It is I believe $6 a day, 
the outward and return passage provided by the public, the ex- 
penses on shore borne by the party himself. Unless a direct 
opportunity can be promptly found, it is probable that the course 
will be via England. Should you think favorably of the proposi- 
tion, it may be well to ascertain by letter to Mr. Monroe, who is 
still at Washington all the particulars, which may be interesting 
to you, among others the precise amount of the allowance, and 
the probable time when your departure will be required. Whether 
your decision be in the affirmative or negative, be so good as to let 
me know it as soon as you can. 

Accept my cordial regards, 

James Madison. 
E. Coles, Esq. 

Mr. Monroe, who was at the time Secretary of 
State, gave the following letter of introduction to Mr. 
Coles to the consul of the United States to St. Peters- 
burg, it is also presented m facsimile: 

Dep't of State, 

Aug't 6, 1816. 

Sir: — The bearer, Mr. Coles, is sent to Russia on business of 

importance with our minister there. He was lately the private 

secretary of the President, and is a very respectable and amiable 

young man. This is i:o introduce him to your acquaintance, and 

request your attention to him while at the post where you reside. 

With great respect, I am, sir, y'r very ob't servant, 

Jas. Monroe. 
To the Consul of the U. States at St. Petersburg, and at other 
ports in Europe. 



CHAPTER V. 

Mr. Coles Removes from Virginia to Edwardsville, Illinois, 

WITH ALL his NeGROES, IN THE SpRING OF 1819; WaS AT 

Kaskaskia in 1818; Letter of Introduction from Presi- 
dent Monroe to Gov. Edwards; The Conduct of Mr. 
Coles in Regard to his Slaves; Difficulties in the 
Way of Freeing Them; Journey to Illinois; Voyage 
down the Ohio River; Mr. Coles Gives all his Slaves 
THEIR Freedom; A Remarkable Scene. 

In the spring of 1819, all his preparations having 
been completed, he made a final removal with all his 
negroes from Virginia to Edwardsville, in this State. 
The first appearance of Mr. Coles in Illinois, except as 
he passed through the territory from Shawneetown to 
St. Louis, in 18 15, was in the summer of 181 8, at Kas- 
kaskia, then the seat of government for the Territory 
of Illinois. A convention was then in session to form 
a constitution for the new State of Illinois. Mr. Coles 
had before this time determined, and for reasons which 
appear in this Paper, to remove from his native State 
of Virginia to Illinois. It was for this reason that he 
became much interested in the work of the convention 
at Kaskaskia, where he tarried several weeks to use 
what influence he might have to prevent any recog- 
nition of slavery in the constitution of the State which 
he desired to make his home. 

Mr. Coles was the bearer of the following letter of 
introduction to Hon. Ninian Edwards: 

Washington, April 13, 18 18. 
Dear Sir: — Mr. Edward Coles, intending to pass through 
Illinois, probably to remain some time there, I take much pleasure 

40 



WJSHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 41 

in introducing him to your acquaintance and kind attention. I 
have long known and highly respected him for his excellent quali- 
ties and good understanding. He was, several years, private 
secretary of the late President, and employed by him as a confi- 
dential messenger to Russia, in which trusts he discovered sound 
judgment, great industry and fidelity, and is generally loved by 
those who know him best. Should he settle with you, you will 
find him a very useful acquisition — and I understand that is not 
an improbable event. 

I hope that the arrangement made this winter will avail our 
country of your services, in the proposed treaty with the Indians, 
in a manner satisfactory to yourself; for success, on just principles, 
is the object of my most ardent wishes. 

With great respect and esteem, 

I am, dear sir, very sincerely yours, 
James Monroe. 
Hon. Ninian Edwards. 

I know of nothing more creditable to the character 
and action of Mr. Coles than his conduct in relation to 
his slaves. That conduct will honor his name and 
memory. Born amidst slavery and among slave- 
holders, who had given the best features possible to 
that dreadful institution, and amid the luxury and 
refinement of the highest type of Virginia life, in silence 
and after long reflection, he formed the most distinc- 
tive and radical ideas on the 'subject of slavery. He 
then made the resolution in his own mind not to hold as 
slaves the negroes left to him by his father. I quote 
from his own language in this regard: "I could not 
reconcile it to my conscience and sense of propriety to 
participate in slavery; and being unable to screen my- 
self under such a shelter, from the peltings and up- 
braidings of my own conscience, and the just censure, 
as I conceived, of earth and heaven, I could not consent 



42 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to hold as property what I had no right to, and which 
was not and could not be property according to my 
understanding of the rights and duties of man — and 
therefore I determined that I would not and could not 
hold my fellow man as a slave." 

But when Mr. Coles came to the point, he was met 
by great and almost insurmountable difficulties in 
manumitting his slaves. All his relations and friends 
were slaveholders and the example which he proposed 
to set would not only be an injury to them pecuniarily, 
but a reflection upon them as slaveholders, and would 
render him unpopular and odious. Independent of 
these considerations, the law of Virginia required, under 
penalty of forfeiting his freedom, that every negro 
should leave the State within one year after he should 
be emancipated. 

Most men would have shrunk from what Mr. Coles 
then had in contemplation. He had been born and 
educated in wealth and luxury, and was apparently 
surrounded by all that could make a man happy and 
contented in life. But the hideous pall of slavery was 
over it all. He had been for six years in the charming 
household of Mr. Madison as his private secretary; had 
been sent abroad under peculiar circumstances on a 
semi-diplomatic mission; had travelled in Europe, and 
been associated with many of its most distinguished 
men. Mr. Coles, however, was equal to what he had 
proposed to himself. On the ist of April, 1819, he 
started from his plantation ("Rockfish") with all his 
negroes, and all their offspring, which he had inherited, 
for Illinois, except two old women, too old and infirm 
to support themselves, who remained in Virginia, but 



WASHBURN E'S EDWARD COLES 43 

were supported by him during their lives. While the 
negroes knew that they were leaving the land of their 
birth and going to the North-western territory, they 
knew nothing of the intentions which Mr. Coles had in 
regard to them. But they followed with unfaltering 
faith the man who had been so kind and indulgent a 
master. The party of slaves were put in charge of one 
of their number, a mulatto man named Ralph Crawford, 
who had accompanied Mr. Coles on one of his trips to 
Illinois. It was a long journey in emigrant wagons 
over the Alleghanies to Brownsville, Pennsylvania. 
Mr. Coles started a few days afterwards on horseback, 
and overtook them one day's journey from Brownsville. 
At this place he bought two flat-bottomed boats, upon 
which he embarked himself and his traveling com- 
panion, a Mr. Green, of Virginia, together with all his 
negroes, horses, wagons, etc. The pilot that he had 
employed proved so drunken and worthless that he was 
obliged to discharge him at Pittsburg. From thence, 
constituting himself captain and pilot, they proceeded 
on their voyage down the Ohio river for more than six 
hundred miles, to a point below Louisville. There the 
boats were sold, and Ralph Crawford again took charge 
of his party, and continued the journey by land to 
Edwardsville, Illinois, where they arrived safe and 
well. 

I will now let Mr. Coles himself describe a scene 
which must awaken deepest emotions in every generous 
heart. I copy from a manuscript in his own hand- 
writing, which I have had in my hands, and which has 
never yet been published: 

* 'The morning after we left Pittsburg, a mild, calm and lovely 



44 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

April day, the sun shining bright, and the heavens without a cloud, 
our boats floating gently down the beautiful Ohio, the verdant 
foliage of Spring just budding out on its picturesque banks, all 
around presenting a scene both conducive to and in harmony with 
the finest feelings of our nature, was selected as one well suited to 
make known to my negroes the glad tidings of their freedom. 
Being curious to see the effect of an instantaneous severing of the 
manacles of bondage, and letting loose on the buoyant wings of 
liberty the long pent up spirit of man, I called on the deck of the 
boats, which were lashed together, all the negroes, and made 
them a short address, in which I commenced by saying it was time 
for me to make known to them what I intended to do with them, 
and concluded my remarks by so expressing myself, that by a 
turn of a sentence, I proclaimed in the shortest and fullest 
manner possible, that they were no longer slaves, but free 
— free as I was, and were at liberty to proceed with me, or to go 
ashore at their pleasure. 

The effect on them was electrical. They stared at me and 
at each other, as if doubting the accuracy or reality of what they 
heard. In breathless silence they stood before me, unable to 
utter a word, but with countenances beaming with expression 
which no words could convey, and which no language can now 
describe. As they began to see the truth of what they had heard, 
and to realize their situation, there came on a kind of hysterical, 
giggling laugh. After a pause of intense and unutterable emotion, 
bathed in tears, and with tremulous voices, they gave vent to 
their gratitude, and implored the blessings of God on me. When 
they had in some degree recovered the command of themselves, 
Ralph said he had long known I was opposed to holding black 
people as slaves, and thought it probable I would some time or 
other give my people their freedom, but that he did not expect 
me to do it so soon; and moreover, he thought I ought not to do 
it till they had repaid me the expense I had been at in removing 
them from Virginia, and had improved my farm and ' 'gotten me 
well fixed in that new country." To this, all simultaneously 
expressed their concurrence, and their desire to remain with me, 
as my servants, until they had comfortably fixed me at my new 
home. 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 45 

I told them, no. I had made up my mind to give to them 
immediate and unconditional freedom; that I had long been anxious 
to do it, but had been prevented by the delays, first in selling my 
property in Virginia, and then in collecting the money, and by 
other circumstances. That in consideration of this delay, and as 
a reward for their past services, as well as a stimulant to their 
future exertions, and with a hope it would add to their self esteem 
and their standing in the estimation of others, I should give to 
each head of a family a quarter section, containing one hundred 
and sixty acres of land. To this all objected, saying I had done 
enough for them in giving them their freedom; and insisted on 
my keeping the land to supply my own wants, and added, in the 
kindest manner, the expression of their solicitude that I would 
not have the means of doing so after I had freed them. I told 
them I had thought much of my duty and of their rights, and that 
it was due alike to both that I should do what I had said I should 
do; and accordingly, soon after reaching Edwardsville, I executed 
and delivered to them deeds to the lands promised them. 

I stated to them that the lands I intended to give them were 
unimproved lands, and as they would not have the means of mak- 
ing the necessary improvements, of stocking their farms, and 
procuring the materials for at once living on them, they would 
have to hire themselves out till they could acquire by their labor 
the necessary means to commence cultivating and residing on 
their own lands. That I was willing to hire and employ on my 
farm a certain number of them (designating the individuals;) the 
others I advised to seek employment in St. Louis, Edwardsville, 
and other places, where smart, active young men and women 
could obtain much higher wages than they could on farms. At 
this some of them murmured, as it indicated a partiality they said, 
on my part to those designated to live with me; and contended 
they should all be equally dear to me, and that I ought not to 
keep a part and turn the others out on the world, to be badly 
treated, etc. I reminded them of what they seemed to have lost 
sight of, that they were free; that no one had a right to beat or 
ill use them; and If so treated, they could at pleasure leave one 
place and seek a better; that labor was much in demand in that 
new country, and highly paid for; that there would be no difficulty 



46 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in their obtaining good places, and being kindly treated; but if 
not, I should be at hand, and would see they were well treated, 
and have justice done them. 

I availed myself of the deck scene to give the negroes some 
advice. I dwelt long and with much earnestness on their future 
conduct and success, and my great anxiety that they should be- 
have themselves and do well, not only for their own sakes, but for 
the sake of the black race held in bondage; many of whom were 
thus held, because their masters believed they were incompetent 
to take care of themselves, and that liberty would be to them a 
curse rather than a blessing. My anxious wish was that they 
should so conduct themselves as to show by their example that the 
descendants of Africa were competent to take care of and govern 
themselves, and enjoy all the blessings of liberty, and all the other 
birthrights of man, and thus promote the universal emancipation 
of that unfortunate and outraged race of the human family." 

On board of the boat and before the party landed, 
Mr. Coles gave to the negroes a general certificate of 
freedom in which their names, ages, etc., were stated. 
It appeared, however, that at the last session of the 
Legislature of Illinois, a law had been passed, but 
which had not then been published, requiring every free 
negro to have the evidence of his freedom; and unless 
he possessed such evidence and had it recorded, he was 
liable to be imprisoned, and anyone hiring him was 
subject to a heavy fine for each day he should employ 
him. In consequence of the passage of this law, he 
was advised that it would be necessary for him to give to 
each negro or family a certificate of freedom, in which 
the individual or individuals should be named and 
described, the same to be made a matter of record, and 
that the shortest and best mode would be for him to 
execute separate instruments of emancipation. Mr. 
Coles at first objected to this, for the reason that he 



WASHBVRNE'S EDWARD COLES 47 

had already given to the negroes a general certificate 
of freedom before they had come into the State. His 
lawyer, the Hon. Daniel P. Cook, afterwards so dis- 
tinguished as a member of Congress, advised him that 
it would be better for carrying out, in the shortest and 
best form the provisions of the law, and protecting the 
negroes, as well as those who should employ them, he 
should give them separate papers. In accordance with 
that advice, on the 4th of July, 18 19, he executed in- 
struments of emancipation to all the negroes who were 
then residing in Illinois. He prefaced the instrument 
by setting forth that his father had bequeathed to him 
certain negro slaves and adding these great words: 
* 'Not believing that man can have of right a property 
in his fellow man, but on the contrary, that all man- 
kind were endowed by nature with equal rights, I do 
therefore, by these presents restore to (naming the 
party) that inalienable liberty of which he has been 
deprived.' ' That certificate formed the basis of a long 
and bitter law-suit, which will be alluded to farther on. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Appointed Register of the Land Office at Edwardsville, 
BY Mr. Monroe, in 1819; the Advantages of that Posi- 
tion; Makes Acquaintance of the People; Personal 
Appearance; Impression Made on the Pioneers of the 
Country; Gov. Coles and Gov, Edwards, both the High- 
est Types of Gentlemen; The Second Election for 
Governor in 1822; A Stump Canvass; Coles Elected by 
A Small Plurality over Chief Justice Phillips; Coles, 
Anti-Slavery, Successful only through Division of the 
Opposing Party; Legislature Largely Pro-Slavery; 
List of Members. 

Mr. Coles having made known his determination 
to settle in Illinois, on March 5, 18 19, Mr. Monroe con- 
ferred upon him the appointment of Registrar of the 
Land Office at Edwardsville, which was at that time 
one of the principal land offices in the State. This 
appointment was a most fortunate one for Mr. Coles, 
as it enabled him to make acquaintances over a large 
part of the State then settled, and to reach that posi- 
tion which made it possible for him in so great a measure 
to shape its future destiny. There were no positions 
in the new States in which the public lands were sit- 
uated, so favorable for forming acquaintances, and 
making political capital as those of land officers. 
Settlers from every part of the land districts were 
obliged to go to the place where the land office was 
located, to enter their lands and secure their homes. 
To enable themselves to accomplish this purpose and 
acquire the means to enter their lands, had cost the 
settlers great labor and many privations. It was the 
ambition and hope of their lives to get a title to their 

48 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 49 

homes, and there was no man who was not without 
anxiety that something might not turn up to thwart 
his purpose, and many thought that the land officers 
held their destinies, in some measure, in their hands. 
When the settler reached Edwardsville, dressed in 
jeans and wearing moccasins, with his money in his 
belt, having traveled on foot or on horseback long 
distances, and first presented himself to the Register of 
the Land Office, there he found Edward Coles, who had 
recently emigrated into the State from Virginia. It 
was known to some of them that he had been the pri- 
vate secretary for President Madison, and had been 
on an important mission to Europe. 

They found him a young man of handsome, but 
somewhat awkward personal appearance, genteelly 
dressed, and of kind and agreeable manners. The 
anxious settler was at once put at ease by the suavity 
of his address, the interest he appeared to feel in aiding 
him, and the thoroughly intelligent manner in which 
he discharged his duty. No man went away who was 
not delighted with his intercourse with the "Register." 
And herein is illustrated the great mistake so often 
made by politicians and candidates for popular favor. 
Too many candidates for the suffrage of the people in 
our early political contests thought it necessary, in 
order to make themselves popular, to affect slovenly 
and unclean dress and vulgar manners in their cam- 
paigns. There was never a greater mistake. How- 
ever rough, illclothed and unintelligent the voter might 
be, he always preferred to vote for the man who was 
dressed and acted like a gentleman to the one who 
dressed like and acted like himself. This was partic- 



50 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ularly apparent in the case of Governor Edwards, who 
was, perhaps, the most successful political canvasser 
of his day in the State. In his canvasses before the 
people he never descended to the ordinary tricks and 
subterfuges of the lower grade of politicians running 
for office. He showed himself as the highest type of a 
well dressed and polished gentleman. Always riding 
in his own carriage and driven by his negro servant, the 
people thought it an honor to vote for such a gentleman. 
And as it was with Governor Edwards, so it was with 
his immediate predecessor. Governor Coles. Such 
were his dignified manners and gentlemanly deport- 
ment under all circumstances and upon all occasions, 
that he was always respected. 

The election for Governor of the State, to succeed 
Governor Bond, took place in August, 1822. There 
were no political conventions in those days to nominate 
candidates, and the different aspirants for elective 
offices went in on their own hook, or, in the language 
of the day, **run stump." There were no distinctive 
political parties at that time, and no great national 
questions occupied the attention of the people. Gov- 
ernor Bond being ineligible for re-election was not a 
candidate. The most prominent man brought out for 
Governor in this contest was Joseph Phillips, then Chief 
Justice of the State. His prominent supporters were 
among the early settlers, particularly from the slave- 
holding States, and though the matter was not partic- 
ularly agitated, holding extreme views on the slavery 
question. Mr. Coles, who had only been three years 
in the State, was brought forward by a class of men 
who had no sympathy with the Phillips party-men who 



JVASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 51 

had known Coles as Register of the Land Office, 
and who admired and respected his character. At the 
commencement of the contest these were the principal 
candidates. As the canvass advanced, Coles developed 
strength in the south-eastern part of the State, along 
the Wabash, which alarmed the Phillips men, and to 
take away votes from Coles they brought out as a can- 
didate, Thomas C. Browne, then an Associate Justice 
of the Supreme Court, who was supposed to have great 
strength in that part of the State.^ Both Phillips and 
Browne were pronounced pro-slavery men, while Coles 
was known to be anti-slavery. There were then three 
candidates — Phillips, Coles and Browne. Afterwards 
there appeared a fourth, and for what reason I have 
never seen explained, in the person of Major General 
James B. Moore, of the State Militia. This was a 
somewhat extraordinary contest, and Coles was elected 
by a plurality of only fifty votes over Phillips. Coles 
had two thousand eight hundred and ten votes; Phillips, 
two thousand seven hundred and sixty votes; Browne, 
two thousand five hundred and forty- three; and Moore, 
five hundred and twenty-two votes.^ While Browne 
was brought out to help Phillips in the Wabash country, 
the result shows that it was his candidacy that beat 
Phillips. A large majority of the votes given to Browne 
would undoubtedly have been given to Phillips had not 
Browne been a candidate. Browne had only two 
hundred and seventeen votes less than Phillips. The 
aggregate vote of Coles and General Moore was three 

'See Pease, The Frontier State, 76. Browne was introduced by the Edwards 
faction in the state, which was hostile to Phillips as well as to Coles. 

^See Pease, The Frontier State, 76. The results of the election are given as 
follows: Coles, 2,854 votes; Phillips, 2,687; Browne, 2,443; Moore, 622. 



52 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

thousand three hundred and thirty-two. That might 
be considered the vote of those opposed to bringing 
slavery into the State, while Phillips and Browne, in 
favor of introducing slavery into the State, had a total 
vote of five thousand three hundred and three. Per- 
sonal considerations entered to some extent into this 
contest, but if this vote would be considered a criterion 
on the slavery question, it would show a majority of 
one thousand nine hundred and seventy-one votes in 
favor of introducing slavery into the State by virtue 
of an amended constitution. 

It will have been seen, therefore, that Mr. Coles 
was elected Governor by a large minority of the whole 
vote cast, and through the division of the pro-slavery 
men. At this same election, and where there was no 
such division, the pro-slavery men elected their can- 
didate for Lieutenant-Governor, Adolphus Frederick 
Hubbard, by a decided majority, as well as a majority 
in both branches of the Legislature, and strongly 
opposed to Governor Coles. 

The following is the list of Senators and Members 
of the House of Representatives, composing the Legis- 
lature of 1822-3: 

i^"|Those'marked with an asterisk voted against the Convention Resolution. 

SENATORS. 

ADOLPHUS F. HUBBARD, Lieut.-Governor and Presiding Officer. 
THOMAS LIPPINCOTT, Secretary. 

Sangamon-Stephen Stillman.* Randolph — Samuel Crozier. 

Madison — Theophilus W. Wayne and Lawrence — Wil- 

Smith. Ham Kinkade.* 

Washington — Andrew Bank- Greene, Morgan^etc. — Geo. 



son. 



* Cadwell.* 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 



53 



Union and Alexander — John 
Grammar. 

Crawfordy Clark and Edgar — 
Daniel Parker.* 

Hamilton^ Jefferson, and Mar- 
ion — Thomas Sloo, Jr. 

Bond, Fayette, and Montgom- 
ery — Martin Jones. 

Jackson — William Boon. 



White — Leonard White. 

Edwards — Robert Frazier.* 

Johnson and Franklin — Milton 
Ladd. 

St. Clair — William Kinney. 

Monroe — Joseph A. Beaird. 

Gallatin — Michael Jones. 

Pope — Lewis Barker. 



HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 

WILLIAM M. ALEXANDER, of Alexander, Speaker. 
CHARLES DUNN, Clerk. 



Monroe — William Alexander. 

Pope — Samuel Alexander, 
James A. Whiteside. 

Madison — Curtis Blakeman,* 
George Churchill,* 
Emanuel J. West. 

Fayette and Montgomery — Wm. 
Berry. 

Lawrence — Abraham Cairnes.* 

Hamilton, Jefferson, and Mar- 
ion — Zadock Casey. 

Franklin — Thomas Dorris, 

Gallatin — J. G. Daimwood, 

James S. Davenport. 

White — John Emmitt, 

Alexander Phillips, 
G. R. Logan. 

Crawford— T) avid McGahey,* 
R. C. Ford. 



Union — Alexander P. Field, 

John Mcintosh. 
Johnson — William McFat- 

ridge. 
Pike and Fulton — N i c h o 1 a s 

Hansen, f 
Clark and Edgar — Wm. Low- 

rey.* 
St. Clair — Risdon Moore,* 
Jacob Ogle,* 
James Trotier. 
Randolph — Thomas Mather,* 
Raphael Widen,* 
John McFerron. 
Bond—]na. H. Pugh.* 
Edwards— Gilbert T. Pell.* 
Greene and Morgan — ^Thos. 

Kattan. 
Washington — James Turney. 
Jackson — Conrad Will. 
Sangamon — James Sims.* 
Wayne — James Campbell. 



tShaw, substituted for Hansen, voted for the Convention Resolution. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Inaugxjrated as Governor, December, 1822; His "Speech" 
ON THE Occasion; Sound Views on the Currency Ques- 
tion; Bold Denunciation of Slavery, the Black Laws of 
THE State, and of Kidnapping; Letter in Regard to the 
Title of his Office; The Effect of the Governor's 
Speech; The Opening up of the Great Question of 
Making Illinois a Slave State; Character of the Emi- 
gration FROM the Slave States; Incensed at the Elec- 
tion OF Governor, Coles; Pro-slavery Majority in both 
Branches of the Legislature; Plan Conceived to Make 
a Slave Constitution. 

This Legislature convened at Vandalia on the first 
Monday of December, 1822, and on the 5th day of that 
month Governor Coles delivered in person what is 
called a "Speech on his inauguration in the presence of 
both houses of the General Assembly of Illinois.' ' No 
one who reads this "Speech," as it was called at that 
day, can but be struck with its elevated tone and the 
wisdom of its recommendations.* He spoke of the 
fluctuating and deranged state of the circulating me- 
dium, and the mania for banking, which had brought 
its train of evils inseparable from its excesses. He said 
the State should profit by the experience of others that 
had adopted delusive measures in attempting to relieve 
the community from pecuniary embarrassments, the 
effect of which had been to increase the evils they were 
intended to remove. He enunciated the sentiment 

*Extract of a letter of Morris Birkbeck to Governor Coles, dated Wans- 
borough, Dec. 21, 1822: "I should write to you even were it only for the pleasure 
of telling you that your speech has made a very favorable impression in this 
quarter, and is highly commended, both as to matter and composition. Judge 
Wattles, a New Yorker, a man of talents, says it reminds him of Governor Clinton, 
in good sense and plainness. This, I believe, he considers the maximum of praise.' ' 

54 



i 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 55 

which now, after a lapse of more than fifty-eight years, 
in view of the prolonged and heated discussions on the 
theatre of national politics, must have a great interest. 
He continued: 

"It behooves Illinois, which has been tempted to follow the 
example of her neighbors, to profit by their experience, and to 
restore, as soon as she can, the currency of the State to the fixed 
and universal standard of gold and silver, or what shall be equiva- 
lent to them; believing as she must that those are the great 
desiderata in a sound currency. A currency changeable in value 
can form no standard for the value of other things; and of course 
fails in its object, inasmuch as it is always operating injuriously 
and unjustly in the discharge of debts, by a greater or less amount, 
intrinsically, than was contracted for." 

It was but a few days after his inauguration that 
Governor Coles wrote the following letter touching the 
title of his office. It illustrates the character of the 
man. 

Vandalia, Dec. lo, 1822. 

Gentlemen: — Our State constitution gives to the person exer- 
cising the functions of the Executive, the appellation oi Governor — 
a title which is specific, intelligible, and republican, and amply 
sufficient to denote the dignity of the office. In your last paper 
you have noticed me by the addition of "His Excellency," an 
aristocratic and high-sounding adjunct, which I am sorry to say 
has become too common among us, not only in newspaper annun- 
ciations, but in the addressing of letters, and even in familiar 
discourse. It is a practice disagreeable to my feelings, and in- 
consistent, as I think, with the dignified simplicity of freemen, 
and to the nature of the vocation of those to whom it is applied. 
And having made it a rule through life to address no one as His 
Excellency, or the Honorable, or by any such unmeaning title, I 
trust I shall be pardoned for asking it as a favor of you, and my 
fellow-citizens generally, not to apply them to me. I am, &c., 
&c., 

Edward Coles. 
Messrs. Brown & Berry, Editors of the Illinois Intelligencer. 



56 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Governor Coles called the attention of the Legis- 
lature to the agricultural society of the State and asked 
its consideration as to the propriety of affording it its, 
countenance and support in effecting the great and 
praiseworthy object for which it was instituted. He 
dwelt on the advantages which would result from con- 
necting by navigable channels the waters of the 
Mississippi with those of the great northern lakes. He 
hoped that Illinois would not be backward in perform- 
ing her part in that great national undertaking, which 
would connect the city of New York with New Orleans 
by an interior communication through the Hudson, 
the Lakes, and the Mississippi. 

In this connection, the following letter to Governor 
Coles from DeWitt Clinton, the father of the canal 
system in this country, cannot fail to attract attention. 
K facsimile is inserted. 

Albany, io Oct. 1825. 

Sir: — I regret that the rapidity of your progress through this 
place prevented me from seeing you, when I called at your lodgings 
the day after your arrival. Besides the pleasure which it would 
have afforded me, I would have availed myself of the opportunity 
of explaining my views on the subject of the Michigan and Illinois 
Canal. 

The report of your Canal Board (of which you were so kind 
as to send me several copies) strikes me very favorably, and I 
think that it evinces much ability. You have a superabundance 
of water, easy ground for excavation, and if, instead of stone, you 
make wooden locks which will be found much cheaper, and, in 
some other respects, much better, the estimate of the expense 
may be reduced. 

This communication between the lakes and the ocean has 
long been contemplated, and its creation might be profitable to 
enterprising capitalists. Owing to the present depression of the 







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56 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Governor Coles called the attention of the Legis- 
lature to the agricultural society of the State and asked 
its consideration as to the propriety of affording it its. 
countenance and support in effecting the great and 
praiseworthy object for which it was instituted. He 
dwelt on the advantages which would result from con- 
necting by navigable channels the waters of the 
Mississippi with those of the great northern lakes. He 
hoped that Illinois would not be backward in perform- 
ing her part in that great national undertaking, which 
would connect the city of New York with New Orleans 
by an interior communication through the Hudson, 
the Lakes, and the Mississippi. 

In this connection, the following letter to Governor 
Coles from DeWitt Clinton, the father of the canal 
system in this country, cannot fail to attract attention. 
h facsimile is inserted. 

Albany, io Oct. 1825. 

Sir: — I regret that the rapidity of your progress through this 
place prevented me from seeing you, when I called at your lodgings 
the day after your arrival. Besides the pleasure which it would 
have afforded me, I would have availed myself of the opportunity 
of explaining my views on the subject of the Michigan and Illinois 
Canal. 

The report of your Canal Board (of which you were so kind 
as to send me several copies) strikes me very favorably, and I 
think that it evinces much ability. You have a superabundance 
of water, easy ground for excavation, and if, instead of stone, you 
make wooden locks which will be found much cheaper, and, in 
some aer respects, much better, the estimate of the expense 
may ., reduced. 

This communication between the lakes and the ocean has 
long been contemplated, and its creation might be profitable to 
enterprising capitalists. Owing to the present depression of the 



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WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 57 

money market, it would not be a judicious time to operate, but 
as soon as this pressure is removed, and it cannot last long, I think 
that it would be well to make the experiment. And it will, I 
assure you, afford me high satisfaction to render all the aid in my 
power in favor of this important channel of communication. 

I am, very respectfully. 

Your most obed. servant, 

DeWitt Clinton. 
Governor Coles. 

But the emphatic part of the message of Governor 
Coles was that in relation to slavery, a subject always 
nearest to his heart. He declared that notwithstand- 
ing the ordinance of 1787, slavery still existed In the 
State, and he earnestly invoked the interposition of the 
Legislature in the cause of humanity. He strongly 
recommended that the Legislature make just and equit- 
able provisions for the abrogation of slavery in the 
State. He declared that "justice and humanity re- 
quired of us a general revisal of the laws relative to 
negroes, in order the better to adapt them to the 
character of our institutions and the situation of the 
country." He also recommended to the Legislature to 
enact more effective laws to prevent the kidnapping of 
free blacks, a crime which he was sorry to say was too 
often committed with Impunity In the State. 

This "Speech" to the Legislature by Governor 
Coles, so far as regarded slavery, opened up a contro- 
versy of unheard of bitterness, and Involving conse- 
quences to the State and to the Union which cannot be 
measured by human ken. A large majority of the 
inhabitants of Illinois at this time were from the slave- 
holding States. Many of them leaving their States 
because they were not able to hold slaves, and hoping 



58 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to accomplish a state of things which would allow them 
to indulge in their cherished wish in the State in which 
they had made their homes, they were more ultra pro- 
slavery than the slave-holders of the States which they 
had left. Governor Coles, an anti-slavery man, had 
been elected by a minority vote, and by a division of 
the pro-slavery men. They saw that if their forces had 
been united, their candidate, Chief Justice Phillips, 
would have been elected Governor by a large majority. 
Notwithstanding they had lost their Governor, they 
elected decided majorities in both branches of the 
Legislature. Under these circumstances, as may well 
be conceived, the pro-slavery men now considered it 
their time to strike for a change in the constitution of 
the State. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The Existence of Slavery in Illinois; The Ordinance of 
1787 Contended not to be Binding; A Committee of the 
Legislature report in Favor of a Convention to Alter 
the Constitution; The Early Inhabitants of the State; 
Prejudice against the "Yankees;" Incident Related 
BY Capt. Gear; Judge Gillespie's Statement of the 
Situation in Illinois at this Time; Manner of Amend- 
ing the Constitution; Difficulty of Getting the Req- 
uisite Vote in the Lower House; The Object to be 
Accomplished at all Hazards; The Project Resisted in 
the Legislature; Loose Practices in that Day in the 
"Kingdom of Pike;" Letter of Wm. P. McKee; Remi- 
niscences OF John Shaw; The Whig Celebration at 
Galena in 1840; John S. Miller and John Shaw; "Tip 
and Ty.' ' 

The first constitution prohibited slavery, and it may 
well be asked how it was possible that a state of slavery 
could exist in Illinois at the time of which we are speak- 
ing. Illinois was slave territory before it was ceded by 
Virginia to the United States. The deed of cession 
from Virginia provided that "the inhabitants of the 
Territory ceded, who professed themselves to have been 
citizens of Virginia previous to the cession should have 
their possessions and titles confirmed to them, and be 
protected in their rights and liberties." This deed of 
cession was executed March ist, 1784. It was on the 
13th of July, 1787, that Congress passed the ordinance 
which provided that there should be neither slavery 
nor involuntary servitude, etc., in the Northwestern 
Territory. It was strenuously contended that this 
ordinance of 1787 was in conflict with the deed of ces- 
sion, and therefore of no binding effect. 

59 



60 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The first act of the Legislature was to appoint a 
committee on that portion of Governor Coles' message 
which referred to slavery. That committee reported 
in substance that at **the period when Illinois was 
admitted into the Union upon an equal footing with the 
original States in all respects whatever; and whatsoever 
causes of regret were experienced by the restrictions 
imposed upon the first convention, your committee are 
clearly of the opinion that the people of Illinois have 
now the same right to alter their constitution as the 
people of the State of Virginia, or any other of the 
original States, and may make any disposition of negro 
slaves they choose, without any breach of faith or vio- 
lation of compact, ordinances, or acts of Congress; and 
if the reasoning employed be correct, there is no course 
left by which to accomplish the object of this portion 
of the Governor's message than to call a convention to 
alter the constitution." 

The history of the attempt to fasten slavery on the 
State of Illinois is one of great interest to every citizen 
of the State. 

The earliest inhabitants of Illinois were French 
Canadians and emigrants from Kentucky, Tennessee, 
and North Carolina. The French Canadians had been 
slaveholders from the earliest times in the Territory, 
which afterwards was Illinois, and were favorable to 
the institution. The emigration from Kentucky was 
by far the best, Tennessee was below Kentucky and the 
North Carolina emigration was mostly the "poor 
whites." There was much ignorance and shiftless- 
ness among many of them, combined with an intense 
prejudice against all people from the free States, whom 



WASHBURNE'S EDJVARD COLES 61 

they called "Yankees." Captain Gear, a very early 
settler of the southern part of the State, and who after- 
wards located at Galena, once told me of an Incident 
he had witnessed in early times in Southern Illinois. 
Some man from a free State had been addressing a 
political meeting of these people on a certain occasion. 
He made an able and eloquent speech, but after its 
conclusion, its effect was entirely destroyed by some 
* 'Sucker" who succeeded him, making three jumps, 
and each time exclaiming, *'I am a white man," "I am 
a white man," *'I am a white man." 

The following is Judge Gillespie's statement of the 
situation at the time: 

"It was conceded in those days that a State formed out of 
the "North West Territory" could not be admitted into the Union 
contrary to the provisions of the ordinance of 1787, which pro- 
hibited slavery, but the slavery propagandists contended that 
you could, the next day after being admitted under an anti-slavery 
constitution, change the constitution so as to admit slavery, and 
in that way, "whip the devil around the stump." It was like- 
wise contended that slavery existed in Illinois beyond Congres- 
sional interference, by virtue of the treaty (of 1763) between France 
and England, and that between England and the United States 
at the close of the Revolutionary War, in both of which the rights 
of the French inhabitants were guaranteed. One of these rights 
was that of holding slaves, which, it was contended, was protected 
by treaty stipulation, and was equal in binding effect, to the 
Constitution (of the United States) itself. Besides, it was main- 
tained, that by the conquest of George Rogers Clark, this country 
became a part of Virginia, and that Congress had no more power 
to abolish slavery in Illinois, than it had in Virginia. The logic 
of the times was that the French inhabitants had the right to hold 
slaves, and that the other inhabitants had equal rights with the 
French — ergo: they all had the right to hold slaves. This was the 
argument of the celebrated constitutional expounder — John 



62 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Grammar, of Union county — in the Legislature, in reply to an 
intimation questioning the validity of the title of slaves in Illinois. 
The old gentleman instantly arose and remarked "that fittener 
men" than he was "mout hev been found to defend the masters 
agin the sneakin' ways of the infernal abolitioners; but havin' 
rights on my side, I don't fear, Sir. I will show that 'ar prop- 
osition is unconstitutionable, inlegal, and fornenst the compact. 
Don't every one know, or leastwise had ought to know, that the 
Congress that sot at Posf Finsan*, garnisheed to the old French 
inhabitants the right to their niggers, and haint I got as much 
rights as any Frenchman in this State? Answer me that, Sir." 
Notwithstanding this seeming confidence, these men were exceed- 
ingly desirous of reinforcing their rights. They resorted to the 
indenturing method, by which they got their servant to go before 
some officer and bind himself to serve the master, generally for 
ninety-nine years, for which he was to receive a slight equivalent at 
the end of each year. 

As the "Yankees" increased in numbers, confidence (on the 
part of the pro-slavery men) in the titles to their negroes, dimin- 
ished, and they finally concluded that there was no assurance 
for them, except in changing the constitution so as to sanction 
slave-holding; and thus the contest commenced, which for fierce- 
ness and rancor excelled anything ever before witnessed. The 
people were at the point of going to war with each other. The 
pro-slavery men were, as they have always been, ready to resort to 
violence wherever they dared, unwilling to listen to, or incapable 
of comprehending arguments. Their method of overcoming 
opposition was by 'bulldozing;' but on this occasion they had to 
encounter men of invincible courage, who were eager and willing 
to 'beard the lion in his den,' and defend their rights at all hazards. 
Many of these men had removed to Illinois to get rid of the curse 
of slavery.' ' 

By a provision of the then existing constitution, 
no change thereof could be made unless the question of 
a convention to form a new constitution should be sub- 

*Vincennes was in early times called by the settlers of Indiana and Illinois 
"Post Virisan." 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 63 

mitted to the people by a joint resolution of the Legis- 
lature, adopted by a two-thirds vote. While the 
pro-slavery men had precisely two-thirds of the votes 
of the Senate, in the House, they lacked one vote of 
the requisite number. 

The pro-slavery men showed themselves in this 
controversy, sprung unexpectedly upon the Legislature, 
vehement, determined, and unscrupulous. They con- 
sidered their great object would be accomplished if they 
could only secure a call of the convention, for they 
believed that a majority of the people of the State were 
ripe for the introduction of slavery. Influenced by 
great convictions, loving freedom and hating slavery, 
the minority fought the question of the convention 
with a boldness and resolution worthy of the great 
cause in which they were engaged, though one or two 
men faltered in the struggle. There was a noisy, 
demonstrative, and aggressive public opinion at Van- 
dalia at that time. Judges, prosecuting attorneys, 
county officers, men seeking office and special legislation 
at the hands of the pro-slavery Legislature, were all 
howling for a * 'convention.' ' Denunciations and curses 
unlimited were visited upon Governor Coles, and upon 
that little band in the Legislature which had attempted 
to thwart the pro-slavery party in passing the conven- 
tion resolution. But that object was to be accom- 
plished at every cost, and without regard to the means 
to be employed. At almost the last moment, and when 
it was found that neither influence, nor threats, nor 
coaxing, would secure the requisite vote to pass the 
resolution, it was determined in order to accomplish 
the object that an anti-convention man should be put 



64 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

out of the House, and a convention man put in his 
place. Such a change would give the convention party 
precisely the two-thirds vote required. Nicholas Han- 
sen had received the certificate of election as a member 
of the House from Pike county, which then embraced 
the whole central and northern part of the State. 
Hansen's competitor was John Shaw, one of the earliest 
settlers of Illinois, and who it is said was the very first 
settler on the * 'military tract." And here a digression 
for a single moment. I am myself a citizen of Illinois, 
old enough to have known John Shaw. The first time 
I ever saw him was in Galena, in July, 1840, where 
there was an immense political meeting, held by the 
Whigs in the interest of * 'Tippecanoe and Tyler too." 
Shaw, I think, then lived at Hamburg, in Calhoun 
county, and owned and navigated a steamboat named 
the * 'John Shaw.' ' This steamboat had been chartered 
by the Rock Island county Whigs, for the Whig gather- 
ing at Galena. The boat was a little behind time in 
arriving on the day of the meeting, and she was looked 
for with great anxiety by the crowd that expected her 
to bring great accessions to their numbers from Rock 
Island and the various towns on the Mississippi river. 
Coming slowly up Fever river, gaily dressed out with 
bunting, having a band of music on board, her arrival 
was hailed with the most intense enthusiasm by the 
Whigs on the levee; but the culmination of this enthusi- 
asm was reached when a canoe named ' 'Tip and Ty,' ' 
was seen suspended over the boiler deck, in which was 
seated John Shaw and John S. Miller, one of the very 
earliest settlers of the lead mines, holding paddles in 
their hands, going through the pantomime of paddling 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 65 

"Tip and Ty." I never saw him afterwards until at 
Washington, during the session of Congress, 1855-6. 
He was there in the prosecution of some claim against 
the Government, and had then become quite an old 
man, and quite blind. He called to see me frequently. 
He was a short, spare man, of a quick and nervous 
movement, with a vivid recollection of the early inci- 
dents of the country, full of anecdote and reminiscence, 
and withal a quiet humor, which made his visits always 
pleasant and agreeable. 

The historian of Pike County is not very compli- 
mentary to Shaw. He says, in substance, that Shaw 
was a very early settler at Coles' Grove, which was the 
county seat of Pike before Calhoun was set off from it, 
and was County Commissioner of Pike County before 
Calhoun was constituted. He was a noted man, am- 
bitious, restless, unscrupulous and engaged in all sorts 
of business, and particularly in politics. At one time 
he had great sway over the community, and was called 
the "Black Prince," the name being given him on 
account of the control he had over a large number of 
"half breeds" in the county. "He forged deeds, even 
by the quire, doctored poll books, etc. So great was 
his influence, but at the same time so injurious to the 
settlers, that the public issue was gotten up in politics, 
of 'Shaw' and 'Anti-Shaw,' and it was not until a great 
and united struggle, that Shaw lost his supremacy." 
After this happened, Shaw left Pike county and the 
State, and moved to Wisconsin and became the first 
settler of "Shaw's Landing," now the city of Berlin, 
Wisconsin.^ 

'This is an error. Shaw settled at St. Marie, about fourteen miles from 
Berlin, which was known as Strong's Landing. See ' 'Personal Narrative of Col. 
John Shaw," in Wisconsin Historical Collections, 2: 231. 



66 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The contest between Hansen and Shaw, for mem- 
bers of the Legislature for Pike county, seems to have 
been a very lively one. I have a curious letter on the 
subject of this election, written to Governor Coles from 
Edwardsville, August iQth, 1822, and a few days after 
the election, by William P. McKee, who I believe, was 
a clerk in the Land Office under Mr. Coles, the then 
Register. I set the letter out herein, as an interesting 
item of that contest which was destined to take such 
proportions in the future. There seems to have been 
a warm time in the "Kingdom of Pike," and practices 
were resorted to at that early period, which have been 
too much in vogue at a later day. 

Edwardsville, Illinois, August 17, 1822. 
Dear Sir: — Since your departure from this place, I have 
learned the state of the polls in several counties. Mr. Buckmaster 
returned from Kaskaskia, yesterday. He says that Lockwood 
told him that he had heard from all the counties but Crawford and 
White, exclusive of which, you had a majority over Phillips (who 
is now thought to have beaten Browne), of from two hundred and 
fifty to three hundred votes. There appears to exist no doubt 
now, but that you are elected. Mr. Warren has given it up, as 
you will see by his paper of this day, sent you to Albemarle. 
Mr. Cook, I presume, is doubtless re-elected. It is generally 
thought, I believe, that Hubbard is elected Lieutenant Governor. 
In our calculations made of the votes given for Governor, I had 
not included your vote in Pike county, which was eighty-nine, 
consequently in the counties we had heard from before you left 
this, you had a majority over him of five hundred and fifty votes. 
In the "Kingdom of Pike," I presume, they had a warm time. 
Yesterday, a gentleman was from there who brought dispatches 
from Hansen and Smith to you and others of this place; he told 
me the contents and desired me to open it. I did so and found 
a very warm letter from Hansen to you, desiring those who have 
ever entertained a friendship for him not to despair of his pros- 



fVASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 67 

pects, etc.; and in which was a request that you should hand, for 
publication, a letter from Smith to you, which says that Shaw had 
obtained a great many of his votes from Greene, Madison and 
Missouri; and knowing the fidelity and correctness of the Judges 
appointed by the Commissioner's Court, he (Shaw) had thought 
fit to establish a mob poll, as he styles it, at which Shaw had re- 
ceived most all his votes; although Hansen was very anxious to 
have it appear in the paper of to-day, I have laid it away in the 
pigeon-hole and shall say nothing about it. He will be down Mon- 
day or Tuesday, he wrote you, when he can act for himself. Since 
you left this place, we have lost two citizens of our county, James 
Robinson (neighbor to mother) and General Hopkins, who will 
be buried to-day. Nothing of consequence has transpired in the 
office since you left. 

Accept my wishes for your health and prosperity. 

Yours with esteem, • 

Wm. p. McKee." 



CHAPTER IX. 

Contest Between Hansen and Shaw in the Legislature; 
Historians at Fault in Regard to one Reason for Un- 
seating Hansen; His vote for United States Senator 
nothing to do with it; Confirmed in his seat at the 
Commencement of the Session; Shaw's Vote Necessary; 
The Cry of "The Convention or Death;" All Debate 
Stifled; Hansen Votes against the Resolution; Deter- 
mination TO Oust Him from his Seat; Col. Alexander P. 
Field; His Resolution Admitting Hansen to his seat 
Reconsidered, and Shaw Admitted; His Vote for the 
Resolution Carries it; Gen. Nicholas Hansen; Letter 
OF Gov. Coles Notifying him of his Appointment as 
Judge of Probate of Pike County; Hansen's Letter to 
Coles. 

Hansen had the certificate of election, but when 
the Legislature met the first Monday of December, 
1822, Shaw came forward to contest his seat. It is 
said by Governor Ford and Governor Reynolds, and 
others, that Hansen was permitted to occupy his seat 
for the purpose of giving his vote for the re-election of 
Jesse B. Thomas, as United States Senator, who was a 
pro-slavery man, and afterwards turned out to put in 
Shaw who was a convention man. That does not 
appear to be the precise fact. The case of this con- 
tested election seems to have been decided on its merits 
and outside of the influence of any party feeling.* It 
was at an early period of the session, and before the 
question of a convention had been much agitated. 
The contest for Senator was a personal one, and the 
convention question was in nowise involved in it. Both 

^See Pease, The Frontier State, 79. 

68 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 69 

candidates were pro-slavery men, and both became 
strong convention men. Thomas had the most 
strength and was elected over Judge John Reynolds. 
Hansen voted for Thomas, as between him and the 
other principal candidate, Reynolds, equally pro-slavery. 
I can find no sufficient evidence that Hansen was 
confirmed in his seat in the first instance, for the pur- 
pose of voting for Thomas. The only thing in that 
regard, which appears in all the proceedings, is a state- 
ment made in the debate in the house by Mr. Lowrey, 
of Clark, that he had heard Ford, of Crawford, a 
Thomas man, as well as a convention man afterwards, 
say that ' 'if Hansen were turned out Thomas would lose 
a vote^' which was undoubtedly the case, but which 
proves nothing further than that Hansen preferred 
Thomas to Reynolds, both holding precisely the same 
views. This view of the matter is supported by the 
fact that anti-slavery and anti-convention men voted 
both for and against Hansen* in the case of his contest 
with Shaw. 

On the 2nd of December, 1822, the committee of 
elections of the House, to whom the matter was referred, 
reported unanimously in favor of Hansen's right to a 
seat, and the report was adopted by the House by a 
large majority. The fact of unanimity of the com- 
mittee is good evidence that it was not a party ques- 
tion. Hansen having been thus confirmed in his seat, 
Shaw took his saddle-bags, mounted his horse and made 
his way back to Pike county, neither he nor anyone 

*The election for Senator was held January 9th, 1823. Jesse B. Thomas 
received twenty-nine votes; John Reynolds, sixteen votes; Leonard White, six 
votes, and Samuel D. Lockwood two votes. Thomas received five majority over 
all. Hansen's vote was not therefore necessary to elect Thomas. All the Can- 
didates were Convention men except Lockwood. 



70 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

else ever dreaming that the matter could come up 
again. 

It was not until after this contested election case 
was settled that the convention question came to be 
seriously considered. The members of the Legislature 
who had opposed the election of Governor Coles be- 
came embittered against him, after he had taken such 
radical ground in his message in regard to the abolition 
of the remnant of slavery existing in the State, and also 
in relation to the inhviman and disgraceful Black Code. 
This feeling culminated in a determination to change 
the fundamental law of the State. This purpose was 
the more inexcusable, from the fact that the question 
had never been mooted in the election of members to 
the Legislature. The leaders of the conspiracy to 
change the Constitution entered actively on their work. 
They commenced by cautiously sounding the members. 
To those whose pro-slavery sentiments were well 
known, the object to make Illinois a slave State was 
openly avowed; but to those who were not at first pre- 
pared to take such a step, other reasons for the call of 
a convention were urged as a pretext. The question 
was, could the requisite two-thirds majority be had in 
both Houses to pass a resolution to call a convention 
to "alter, revise and amend the Constitution." That 
was the great work to be accomplished — '' Hie labor ^ 
hoe opus est.'' In the senate there was no doubt that 
out of the eighteen members, twelve (two-thirds) were 
solid for the convention and slavery. But in the House 
the question was doubtful. Counting McFatridge of 
Johnson, and Hansen of Pike, as against a convention, 
two votes were to be obtained in some way to make the 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 71 

requisite two-thirds. As the session wore on, the 
excitement increased and the convention men became 
desperate indeed. Their rallying cry was "The con- 
vention or death." Everything in the Legislature was 
shaped to effect final success. The convention ques- 
tion was paramount to all other business before the 
Legislature. Local bills in which individual members 
were interested, and upon the passage of which their 
political life depended, were unceremoniously laid upon 
the table, or held in the hands of committees, until the 
refractory or doubtful member yielded to the pressure. 
Offices in the gift of that body were held in abeyance, 
and promises of political preferment to those who 
sought distinction were abundant. Those who opposed 
the favorite measure were threatened and denounced. 
Legislative despotism ruled supreme; and the co- 
ordinate branches of the government, for the time 
being, were merged in the unlimited power exercised by 
the Senate and House of Representatives.* 

The action of the convention party in the Legisla- 
ture was to the last degree unfair, tyrannical and 
insulting. Fearing discussion and the exposure of their 
real purposes, they shut off all debate on the most vital 
and important question that could ever come before a 
Legislative body. In the Senate, Mr. Kinkade, of 
Lawrence, declared that it was due alike to the Senate 
and to the people, that the objects for which a con- 
vention should be called should be explained; but in 
accord with a previous understanding, not a single 
word was vouchsafed in reply; having the floor, he then 
proceeded to state the reasons of his opposition to the 
Convention Resolution, and openly charged that the 

*Hon Wm. H. Brown's Paper before the Chicago Historical Society. 



72 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

object in view was to make a slave constitution. He 
was at this point violently interrupted, called to order, 
and compelled to take his seat. In the House, so far 
as I am able to gather, no general discussion was 
allowed. 

How were the two necessary votes to be had in the 
House? In looking over the ground the idea was con- 
ceived, that an advantage could be gained by passing 
a Convention Resolution, by a joint vote of the two 
Houses. The Senate, therefore, passed a resolution 
declaring that if two-thirds of all the members of both 
Houses should recommend to the people to vote for or 
against a convention, it would be in accordance with 
the requirements of the Constitution. Colonel Alex- 
ander P. Field, of Union county (who, in conjunction 
with Emanuel J. West, of Madison county), had taken 
the leadership of the pro-slavery and convention men 
in the House, introduced a similar resolution in the 
House, but from the fact, not so much that no con- 
struction of the Constitution could justify such a 
method of voting, as from the fact that such method 
would not give them any more votes, it was rejected by 
a vote of twenty to sixteen. 

The Senate then passed the convention resolution 
by the required number of votes, but the House pru- 
dently permitted it to lie upon the table until the real 
strength of the convention men might be tested in its 
own body. To that end, Mr. West, of Madison, intro- 
duced a resolution, similar to that of the Senate, into 
the House. This resolution obtained twenty-two votes, 
Hansen voting for //, and McFatridge against it. Rat- 
tan of Greene, a convention man, voted in the negative 



JVASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 73 

in order to move a re-consideration if it should be 
necessary. This affirmative vote would have made 
twenty-three, one less than was necessary. But one 
vote more, therefore, was necessary to accomplish the 
great object for which such a stupendous effort had 
been made. That one vital vote was wanting and the 
resolution failed. In the meantime McFatridge,* who 
had been an anti-convention man, through some unseen 
influence had changed front, and his vote, together with 
that of Hansen, now thought perfectly secure, would 
carry the measure through. Everything was now 
ready, and certain success seemed assured. On the 
nth of February, 1823, the Senate resolution, which 
had been quietly lying on the speaker's table, was taken 
up for its final passage. The convention men were in 
great glee. They felt that their hopes were now to be 
realized, after so much labor and effort, so much coax- 
ing and driving during the entire session. But 

"The best laid schemes o' mice and men, 
Gang aft a-gley:" 

At the very pinch of the game, what was the aston- 
ishment and fury to find Hansen changing front and 
voting against the resolution. It is to be regretted that 
Hansen's course is neither very clear, nor very satis- 
factory in this regard. It was, therefore, lost; twenty- 

*Mr. McFatridge was, I judge, of Scotch-Irish origin; a man about sixty 
years of age, of kind heart and generous disposition. He had fallen into the very 
general evil of the times, and drank more liquor than his legislative duties actually 
required. Late in an afternoon session a member moved an adjournment; Mr. 
McF., in his chair, opposed it. It was carried by a large vote, and the speaker 
declared the House adjourned. McFatridge, raising his voice above the noise 
occasioned by the general movement, exclaimed; "Mr. Speaker — Mr. Speaker, — 
you may adjourn the House, and be hanged, but old Billy McFatridge will remain 
in session until sundown, and look after the interests of his constituents, while 
you are cavorting at Copp's grocery and getting drunk on the hard earnings of the 
people.' ' \fV. H. Brown's Paper read bejore the Chicago Historical Society.] 



74 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

three votes only being in its favor, instead of the 
necessary twenty- four. What was now to be done? 
A member who had voted with the losing side moved 
to reconsider, but the Speaker of the House, William 
M. Alexander, a convention man, decided, that accord- 
ing to all parliamentary rules and practices, it could 
not be done. An appeal from that decision was taken, 
and the Speaker was sustained by a vote of eighteen 
to sixteen, two members not voting. The resolution 
was therefore, defeated and apparently beyond the 
reach of resurrection; but with m.en wrought up to such 
a degree of excitement as the convention men were, 
there was no such word as "fail," even in the worst of 
causes. The "Convention or Death," was still the 
cry. 

The indignation against Hansen knew no bounds. 
The members who had become convention men, and who 
had voted to confirm him in his seat, at the commence- 
ment of the session, were the most furious of all; and 
now was conceived and carried out a measure of revolu- 
tionary violence and madness, happily without a 
parallel in our history — a blot upon the fair escutcheon 
of our State, and the villainy of which "returned to 
plague the inventors." By the suffrages of his con- 
stituents, confirmed by a vote of the House, Nicholas 
Hansen had held his seat in the House of Representa- 
tives, from the very first day of the session; and after 
a contest, solemnly decided in his favor on the gth day 
of December, 1822, that seat was held unchallenged and 
unquestioned by anybody. The convention men in the 
House, in this crisis of their affairs, proved themselves 
equal to the emergency which confronted them. On 



WASHBVRNE'S EDWARD COLES 75 

the 1 2th of February, 1823, and nine weeks after the 
House had decided that Hansen was duly and legally 
elected, and after he had sat all that time without one 
question being raised as to his right to a seat, Colonel 
Alexander P. Field, of Union, made an extraordinary 
motion. It was no other than a motion to reconsider 
the Resolution of the House, adopted December gth, 
1822, declaring Nicholas Hansen to be entitled to his 
seat. He made a long speech in favor of this motion, 
going over questions which had been fully decided by 
the House when the contest was up. He did not state 
a single reason for the adoption of his motion which was 
worthy a moment's consideration; but it was simply 
the appeal of a desperate faction made through him, to 
bring members who might be supposed to have some 
ideas of conscience, up to a ' 'sticking point.' ' It seems 
that the friends of Shaw had set up a bogus poll, one 
independent of the legal voting place, where it was 
charged that eighty or ninety men from Missouri and 
other places had voted, and who had no qualification 
as electors. The House rejected all such votes when 
it came to decide the case. Field complained of this, 
and contended that these men, who had voted at the 
bogus poll, had only exercised a privilege — -"A privi- 
lege," he exclaimed, ' 'which when we cease to enjoy 
/ wish to cease to be a member of society y Continuing, 
he said, "that it was with astonishment and surprise 
he had heard gentlemen proclaim in the House that 
we, when adjudicating on questions of this Y\x\^^ cannot 
depart from the strict letter of the law^ but are bound to 
observe it in all its niceties' ' Farther on he dwelt upon 
"the greatest privilege the Constitution conferred upon 



76 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the people — the right to vote," and concluded: "when 
a man approaches the polls, and exercises his dearest 
right, he never stops to make the inquiry, will my vote 
be rejected if I exercise it here? No; on the contrary 
he feels proud to think how far better his situation is 
over the person who is forced to l?ozv at the nod of an 
unfeeling despot and bear the chains of tyranny'' Ma- 
ther, of Randolph, and Churchill, of Madison, stated 
good reasons why the House should not disturb its 
former judgment, but the speech of Field did the busi- 
ness. The resolution which the House had adopted 
and which it was proposed to re-consider was as follows: 

''Resolved^ That Nicholas Hansen is entitled to a 
seat in this House." 

The motion to reconsider was carried and the reso- 
lution was before the House for action. It was thought 
necessary, however, to base the action which the mem- 
bers of the House proposed to take on some pretext and 
put the case on some different ground from that on 
which it had been originally decided. Here "Mr. 
Turney presented the affidavit of Levi Roberts, dated 
January 28th, 1823, who certified that, in his opinion^ 
Mr. Shaw received a majority of 2g of all the qualified 
votes of Pike County." This ex-parte affidavit, made 
by a friend of Shaw, then at Vandalia, and without 
notice and opportunity for cross-examination, stating 
no fact, but merely expressing an opinion, was deemed 
sufficient to answer a purpose which was to be accom- 
plished in any event. A motion was made to strike 
out the words "Nicholas Hansen" in the resolution and 
insert the words "John Shaw," which motion was 
carried. In the interest of history I give the names of 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 77 

those members who voted that Hansen was entitled to 
the seat at the commencement of the session, and that 
he was not entitled to it at its close: Alexander, of Pope, 
Campbell, of Wayne, Daimwood, of Gallatin, Daven- 
port, of Gallatin, Dorriss, of Franklin, Emmitt, of 
White, Ford, of Crawford, Logan, of White, McFerron, 
of Randolph, West, of Madison, and Will, of Jackson. 
When it was decided at the last moment that Han- 
sen was to be put out and Shaw put in, the latter was 
at his home in Pike county, some one hundred and 
thirty miles distant, over a sparsely settled country. 
It was necessary to get Shaw to Vandalia at the earliest 
moment. The journey, going and coming would 
ordinarily occupy at least five days, but by relays of 
horses and hard driving it could be made in four. 
A special messenger was therefore dispatched to find 
Shaw and bring him to Vandalia in the shortest possible 
time, and he arrived there in season to perform the part 
allotted to him. After Shaw had taken his seat, 
another outrage had to be committed before the work 
in hand could be consummated. The vote of the House 
sustaining the speaker in an appeal taken from his 
decision, that a member of the constitutional minority 
could not move a re-consideration, was reconsidered. 
Then a member voting on the losing side moved a re- 
consideration of the last convention resolution, which 
was carried. All that was then required was the vote 
of Shaw to make the requisite twenty-four votes. That 
vote was given, and in that way the resolution was 
passed by a two-thirds vote of both Houses, authorizing 
the people of the State to vote on the proposition to 
call a convention to amend the Constitution at a gen- 



78 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

eral election to be held on the first Monday of August, 
1824. 

As this outrage in unseating Hansen became a great 
factor in the stupendous contest which followed on the 
question of the Convention, a brief allusion to the man 
and his history may not prove uninteresting. Nicholas 
Jrlsinsen (not Hanson, as his name has gone into history 
and legislative records), was a young lawyer, who 
settled at "Coles' Grove" (sometimes written "Cols- 
grove"), the first county seat of Pike county, now 
"Gilead," in Calhoun county, in 1820, where he taught 
school. He was commissioned Colonel of the 17th 
Regiment of the Illinois State Militia, August 11, 1821, 
by Gov. Bond. The county seat of Pike county was 
removed in 1823, from Coles' Grove to Atlas, a town 
situated on the Mississippi bottom, twelve miles west 
of Pittsfield, the present county seat of Pike. Hansen 
was of Dutch descent; a graduate of Union College and 
had been admitted to the Bar of New York before 
removing to Illinois. He was County Judge of Pike 
county in 1 821-2, and was elected to the Legislature 
from Pike county in August, 1822, and at the same 
election that Edward Coles was elected Governor. 
After the removal of the county seat of Pike from Coles' 
Grove to Atlas, Hansen removed to the latter place. 
At a Fourth of July celebration at Coles' Grove, in 
1823, Col. N. Hansen was the orator of the day. The 
following toast was drunk, with "nine cheers:" "Col. 
Nicholas Hansen, a member of our last Legislature, 
sacrificed on the altar of Slavery; may his services to 
his country be duly appreciated by the Republicans of 
Illinois." 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 79 

Hon. Wm. H. Brown, in his admirable Paper on the 
convention struggle, read before the Chicago Historical 
Society, says that the effect of Hansen's equivocal 
position in the Legislature was such that after he re- 
turned home he closed up his business and left the State. 
In this he is mistaken. After the adjournment of the 
Legislature he returned to Atlas and became a Justice 
of the peace, and deputy clerk of Colonel William Ross, 
"who held nearly all the offices of Pike county." He 
was elected to the Legislature a second time from Pike 
and Calhoun counties in 1824, but resigned, his seat. 
On the 28th of May, 1824, he was commissioned by 
Governor Coles as Brigadier General of the Third Bri- 
gade of the First Division of Illinois State Militia. July 
5th, 1826, Governor Coles appointed him Judge of 
Probate for Pike county, as will be seen by the follow- 
ing letter. On the 5th of September, 1827, Governor 
Edwards issued an official order to General Hansen to 
enroll in the militia all persons subject to military duty 
at the "Lead Mines on Fever River or in that vicinity." 

Letter of Governor Coles to General Hansen. 

Vandalia, July 5, 1826. 
Dear Sir: — Your letter of May 23d, recommending Wm. 
Ross as a suitable person to be appointed Judge of Probate of 
Pike, has been received; and I now address you, not so much for 
the purpose of acknowledging it, as to make known to all whom 
it may concern, and especially to remove any misconception as to 
your conduct, that your letter is the only written or verbal com- 
munication I have received in relation to the person who should 
fill Mr. Right's vacancy, and that I have not received a line or a 
word, or even a hint, from you or from any person else, that you 
wanted the office, or would accept it: but believing you better 
qualified than any other person in the county, and that while 



80 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

you continue to hold the office of Recorder, that you could very 
conveniently and with some little profit, discharge the duties of 
Judge of Probate, I have determined to appoint you to that office, 
and herewith inclose your commission. I have been thus explicit 
in order that it should be understood how you, who recommended 
another, should yourself receive the appointment. 

If it should not be agreeable to you to accept the office of 
Judge of Probate, you will be pleased to address me a letter to 
Edwardsville, where I shall go in a few days, and remain most of 
the warm and sickly season. 

The death of my mother, which occurred last spring, will 
render it necessary for me to be in Virginia in January next, at 
which time her estate is to be divided, and it is necessary for me, 
as one of the legatees, to be there. This will compel me to set 
out in December, soon after the meeting of the General Assembly, 
at which time, if not before, I hope to have the pleasure of seeing 
you. I propose to return to this State in the spring by way of 
Philadelphia and New York. 

With great respect and sincere regard, I am your friend, 

Edward Coles. 
Gen. N. Hansen, 

Pike County. 

Col. Benjamin Barney, of Barry, Illinois, who was 
a cotemporary of Hansen, having become acquainted 
with him in October, 1825, at Atlas, says that he came 
from near Albany, N. Y., and from a place called "The 
Walnuts." Captain John Webb, one of the oldest 
citizens of Pike county, says he went to school to 
Hansen in 1820, and that he understood that he came 
from Warren county, N. Y. In the fall of 182Q, a 
brother-in-law of Hansen's came to visit him and he 
went back with him to the State of New York, and he 
never returned to Illinois. Captain Webb says the last 
time he saw Hansen was in 1865, and that he died in 
1872, at the age of ninety-one years. He was never 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 81 

married. Col. Barney describes him as a man six feet 
high, well built, and of fine appearance. **He was a 
man of liberal education, of genial manners and well 
liked by the pioneers of Pike county. His only fault 
was a love of liquor.' '* 

Gen. Hansen seems to have been a man of ability 
and of polished education. Though bred a lawyer in 
the New York school, which at that day meant some- 
thing, he appears never to have practiced his profession 
in this state to any extent. Neither does he appear to 
have made the mark" in life, which might have been 
expected from a man of his endowments, but left the 
State making no sign. I made an effort to find out 
something of his history after he went back to New 
York, but was unsuccessful. f 

I have also in my hands a letter from Hansen to 
Governor Coles, dated Vandalia, December 23d, 1826, 
which was after Coles went out of office. It is written 
in a very neat and scholarly hand, and I give it here- 
with, as a letter not without a certain historical interest. 

Vandalia, Dec. 23, 1826. 
Dear Governor: — I have delayed a little while in writing to 
you, waiting for something new and interesting, but, alas! I am 
where I begun, and can only say that Illinois is Illinois. Our 
legislature is yet harmonious, and though bountifully supplied 
with the gift oi gab^ has not yet brought forth anything sufficiently 

*Judge William Thomas, of Jacksonville, who knew him well, says he was 
' 'an habitual drinker, but not a drunkard — a man well informed in regard to the 
history of the country and the leading politicians." 

The pro-slavery men of Edwardsville were so enraged with Hansen, that 
after he was turned out of the House they burned him in effigy; but Hansen was 
revenged. The ringleader in the ceremony was one Swearingen, a Virginian, who 
was afterwards hanged in Mississippi. 

fl am indebted to my esteemed friend. Judge Chauncy L. Higbee, of Pitts- 
field, Pike County, for much of the information I have obtained in regard to Gen. 
Hansen. 



82 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

indicative of its cliaracter upon the future interests of our State. 
The Circuit Courts will undoubtedly be abolished, and in their 
stead we will have the Judges of the Supreme Court, without 
an increase. O.. T.... S.... means to make all Illinois for him, 
or else against him, placing his redemption and resurrection on 
the vox populi. No man refuses Edward Coles the character of 
an honest man and consistent politician; and it pleases me every- 
day to hear men bear the strongest testimony to your real merits. 
To be short, the want of you is felt. 

On the subject of the agency at Peoria, I have got Turney, 
Judge Browne, Mr. Forquer, and Judge Lockwood to write to 
Mr. Cook. Hamilton has got the protem appointment from 
Gen'l Clark. I am indeed desirous of succeeding, as it would 
benefit me individually; and enable me to serve my friends and 
punish my enemies. 

I will write you again. 

Your friend, 

Nicholas Hansen. 
Governor Coles. 

Hansen it seems at this time was seeking an office. 
Some of the pro-slavery men appear to have forgiven 
him for his course in the Legislature for two of them, 
Judge Browne and General Turney, joined George 
Forquer and Judge Lockwood in writing the congress- 
man, at that day, Hon. Daniel P. Cook, in his behalf. 
It will be perceived that there is a charming frankness 
in the closing part of his letter, in which he says that 
the office he desires would enable him 'Vo serve his 
friends and punish his enemies^ 



CHAPTER X. 

Triumph of the Convention Men; their Indecent Joy; 
Account of their Mob Proceedings, by Governor Ford 
AND Governor John Reynolds; Anti-Convention Men 
appalled at the Pro-Slavery Triumph, but immediately 
Organize to Defeat the Resolution at the Polls; 
Stirring Address of the Anti-Convention Members of 
THE Legislature to the People of Illinois; the Signers 
of the Address; Judge Gillespie's Sketches; other 
Sketches; Alexander P. Field; his checquered History. 

The joy of the convention men over this triumph 
outran all bounds. No consideration of decency or 
discretion could restrain them. An impromptu jollifi- 
cation was gotten up, not only to celebrate their 
hard-earned victory, but to insult and degrade their 
opponents. I will let Governor Ford describe this 
affair: 

"The night after this resolution passed, the conven- 
tion party assembled to triumph in a great carousal. 
They formed themselves into a noisy, disorderly and 
tumultuous procession, headed by Judge Phillips, Judge 
Smith, Judge Thomas Reynolds, late Governor of Mis- 
souri, and Lieutenant Governor Kinney, followed by 
the majority of the Legislature, and the hangers-on 
and rabble about the seat of government; and they 
marched with the blowing of tin horns and the beating 
of drums and tin pans, to the residence of Governor 
Coles, and to the boarding houses of their principal 
opponents, towards whom they manifested their con- 
tempt and displeasure by a confused medley of groans, 
wailings, and lamentations. Their object was to in- 
timidate and crush all opposition at once."* 

*Ford's History of Illinois, page 53. 

83 



84 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Governor John Reynolds, who was a pro-slavery, 
as well as a convention man at the time, in his History, 
"A/y Own Times y' thus speaks of the action of the 
House in turning out Hansen and of the conduct of the 
mob afterwards: "This proceeding in the General 
Assembly looked revolutionary ^ and was condemned by 
all honest and reflecting men. This outrage was a 
death blow to the convention. The night after the passage 
of the resolution there was at the seat of Government 
a wild and indecorous procession by torch-light and 
liquor, and that was also unpopular." 

The members of the Legislature who had heroically 
but unsuccessfully, resisted the passage of the conven- 
tion resolution, as well as Governor Coles and the anti- 
convention men of the State, then at Vandalia, were 
appalled at the pro-slavery triumph. 

The convention men, certain of the success of their 
schemes at the polls, were arrogant, insulting and de- 
fiant. Such was the apparent strength of the pro- 
slavery and convention men that there was scarcely a 
ray of light in the gloom that enveloped the cause of 
freedom. There were, however, some courageous 
hearts who determined to accept the gauntlet which 
had been thrown down. As soon as the Legislature 
adjourned. Governor Coles invited all the principal 
anti-convention men of the State, who were then at 
Vandalia, to meet him at the Governor's room to con- 
sult upon the course to be adopted in view of the late 
action of the Legislature. Fully appreciating the 
supreme importance of the question which had been 
thrust upon them, and animated by great impulses, 
they determined upon an immediate organization, and 



WASHBVRNE'S EDWARD COLES 85 

to resist at the very threshold the conspiracy to make 
Illinois a slave State, and measures were taken to accom- 
plish their purposes. The first thing to be done was to 
have the members of the Legislature, who voted against 
the convention scheme, issue an address to the people 
of Illinois. This address, which was undoubtedly 
drawn up by Governor Coles, unmasked the purposes 
of the conspirators to make a slave constitution, and 
exposed all the various devices and means that had 
been resorted to to accomplish their purpose. It was 
an impassioned appeal to the people to rise up in their 
might and save the State from the greatest shame and 
disaster that could ever be visited upon any people. 
This address, now read after a period of nearly sixty 
years, cannot but excite the most stirring emotions. 
Speaking of slavery it says: "What a strange spectacle 
would be presented to the civilized world, to see the 
people of Illinois, yet innocent of this great national 
sin, and in the full enjoyment of all the blessings of free 
government, sitting down in solemn convention to de- 
liberate and determine whether they should introduce 
among them a portion of their fellow beings, to be cut 
oflF from those blessings, to be loaded with the chains 
of bondage, and rendered unable to leave any other 
legacy to their posterity than the inheritance of their 
own servitude! The wise and the good of all nations 
would blush at our political depravity. Our profes- 
sions of republicanism and equal freedom would incur 
the derision of despots and the scorn and reproach of 
tyrants. We should write the epitaph of free govern- 
ment upon its tombstone." 

After dwelling upon the moral aspects of slavery. 



86 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the address argues against its introduction on account 
of its inexpediency, and closes with the following elo- 
quent appeal: "In the name of unborn millions who 
will rise up after us, and call us blessed or accursed, 
according to our deeds — in the name of the injured sons 
of Africa, whose claims to equal rights with their fellow 
men will plead their own cause against their usurpers 
before the tribunal of eternal justice, we conjure you, 
fellow citizens, to ponder upon these things." 

There were fifteen members of the Legislature, 
Senators and Representatives — brave, conscientious 
and God-fearing men — who signed this noble and timely 
Appeal to the people of Illinois. I give all their names, 
for they deserve to be written in letters of gold on the 
tablets of the State's history. The signers are: 

RisDON Moore, William Lowery, 

William Kinkade, James Sims, 

George Cadwell, Daniel Parker, 

Andrew Bankson George Churchill, 

Jacob Ogle, Gilbert T. Pell, 

CuRTiss Blakeman, David McGahey 

Abraham Cairnes, Stephen Stillman, 
Thomas Mather. 

There were three other members of the Legislature 
who voted against the convention resolution but who 
did not sign this appeal. They were Robert Frazier, 
a Senator from Edwards county, Raphael Widen, a 
Representative from Randolph county,* and J. H. Pugh, 
a Representative from Bond county. What influenced 
them not to join in this Appeal is not now known, but 
it is probable that they might have left Vandalia before 
the paper had been drawn up. 

^Raphael Widen voted /or, not against, the convention resolution. See 
House Journal, 1822-1823, pp. 275-276. 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 87 

I wish it were in my power to do something to rescue 
from oblivion the names of these brave and true men 
in the Legislature, who fought out the battle against 
the introduction of slavery into the State, and whose 
labors and influence contributed so much to save our 
commonwealth from one of the most appalling calam- 
ities ever visited upon a people. They were men of no 
particular distinction in their day and generation, and 
there was not a man among them of any great promi- 
nence, or distinguished by talent or eloquence. But 
they had great convictions and true courage, and during 
all the long and fearful conflict it could be said of them, 

"No dangers daunted and no labors tired." 

Earnest as these men were, and devoted and patri- 
otic as they were, yet it is evident that they "builded 
better than they knew.' ' It would have seemed almost 
impossible in that day to comprehend the stupendous 
consequences which would have resulted from the suc- 
cess of the slave party. 

Through the kindness of friends in difi^erent parts 
of the State, I have been able to obtain some informa- 
tion in regard to these anti-convention men in the Legis- 
lature. It is much to be regretted that it is not more full. 

The two members from St. Clair county, who voted 
against the convention resolution, were Risdon Moore 
and Jacob Ogle. Mr. Moore was a member of the 
House in the Territorial Legislature in 1814 and 1815, 
of which he was the Speaker, both sessions. Born in 
Delaware in 1760, he served in the Navy for a short 
time toward the close of the Revolution. His father, 
Charles Moore, also served in the Revolution. After 
the close of the war, Risdon learned the trade of a black 



88 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

smith. In lySg, he moved to Guilford Court House, 
N. C. He there married a daughter of Col. Wm. Dent, 
and in the following year moved to Hancock county, 
Georgia, and settled near Sparta. He resided twenty- 
two years in Georgia and raised a family of nine 
children. He was a member of the Georgia Legislature 
from Hancock county, in 1795 and 1796, and also in 
the years 1808 and 1809. He was brought up an 
Episcopalian, but left that church to join the Methodist, 
a denomination with a more marked hostility to the 
institution of slavery, which he held in abhorrence. In 
18 12 he moved from Georgia to St. Clair county. His 
own family with his white servant, whom he brought 
with him, numbered fifteen, and his colored people 
numbered eighteen. He was distinguished for his great 
kindness to the colored people, and he frequently said 
that he had never inflicted punishment on a slave. He 
was a member of the lower house of the legislature from 
St. Clair county, from the ist to the 5th General 
Assembly — 18 18 to 1826. He was a most vehement 
opponent of the Convention Resolution, and he and 
George Churchill, the anti-convention member from 
Madison county, were burned in effigy in Troy, in that 
county.* Mr. Moore was a strong Adams man in 1824 

*It is hard to believe at this day that two such men as George Churchill 
and RisDON Moore were burned in effigy in what is now the staid and sober county 
of Madison for resisting the introduction of slavery into the State in 1823-4. 
Governor Koerner says such was the fact, and Judge Gillespie confirms it. He 
says that the Rev. Jesse Renfro now living at Troy, was present and saw the two 
men burned in effigy. It was in this same county of Madison, at Alton, on the 
night of the 7th of November, 1837, that Elijah P. Lovejoy was murdered by a 
mob for attempting to establish an anti-slavery newspaper in that city. Madison 
county became afterwards a strong anti-slavery county, and her people one of the 
most lawabiding in the State. 

"Humanity sweeps onward. 

Where to-day the Martyr stands, 
On the morrow crouches Judas, 
With the silver in his hands." 



fVASHBURNE'S EDJTARD COLES 8^ 

and In 1828. He was once or twice a member of the 
County Court, and was called Judge Moore, to dis- 
tinguish him from his cousin, Risdon Moore, a democrat 
and a Senator from St. Clair county from 1828 to 1830. 
Judge Moore was a man highly respected In every walk 
in life, and always a prominent member of the Metho- 
dist Church. His numerous descendants are all of the 
highest respectability. He settled about four miles 
east of Belleville, at what was at that time called the 
"Turkey Hill Settlement." 

Jacob Ogle, born in Virginia, was the son of Capt. 
Joseph Ogle, of Virginia, who was a soldier of the 
Revolution. Both father and son came to what Is now 
Monroe county. In 1785; and they moved to a point 
near where O'Fallen is now situated. In St. Clair 
county, on a creek named after him. Ogle's creek, in 
1 821. Jacob Ogle was a "Ranger" in 1812. They 
were both leading members of the Methodist Church. 
In addition to being a member of the "Convention 
Legislature," In 1830 Jacob Ogle was elected to the 
lower house of the General Assembly, from St. Clair 
county. He seems to have held no other position 
except Justice of the Peace. He was a well-to-do 
farmer, highly respected and Intelligent. He died In 
1844, aged seventy-two years. 

Raphael Widen, who, as a member of the House 
from Randolph county, voted against the Convention 
Resolution,^ was a native of Sweden, but left there 
when but eight years old for France, where he was 
educated for a Catholic* priest. He emigrated from 
France to the United States in 18 15. He married 
Miss Frances Lalemier in Cahokia, in 1818, and died of 

^See footnote, ante, 86. 



90 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

cholera, In Kaskaskia, in 1833. His widow afterwards 
married Capt. E. Walker, and she died in Chester, the 
present county seat of Randolph, in 1874. He has a 
son, Wm. S. Widen, and a daughter, the wife of John 
L. Edwards, both of whom live in Chester. Mr. Widen 
was a member of the State Senate, from Randolph 
county, from 1824 to 1828. 

Andrew Bankson was first elected a Senator from 
Washington county in 1822. He voted against the 
Convention Resolution. He was re-elected to the 
Senate in 1824 and served till 1826. He settled in St. 
Clair county, on Silver Creek, four miles south of 
Lebanon, in 1808 or 18 10, from whence he must have 
removed to Washington county. In 18 12 he was 
Colonel of the Rangers. He was a Captain in the Black 
Hawk war in 1832. Removing from Illinois he settled 
in Iowa Territory, some distance west of Dubuque. 
He was a member of the Iowa Legislature and held 
other offices. He was a native of Tennessee and died 
in Wisconsin, in 1853, while visiting a son-in-law. 

Abraham Cairnes was a member of the House 
from Lawrence county, and voted against theconvention 
resolution. He settled in Crawford county in 18 16, 
and in that part of it afterwards embraced in Lawrence 
county, which was organized in 1821. He was a 
member of the House in the previous General Assembly, 
in 1 820-2, from Crawford county. He does not appear 
to have been a member of the Legislature after 1822-4. 
I can get but little information in regard to him, further 
than that in the canvass he was an active and efficient 
opponent of the Convention Resolution. He removed 
from Lawrence county to some point on the Mississippi 
River, in 1826. He was a native of Kentucky. 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 91 

David McGahey was a member of the House from 
Crawford county. He settled in that county in 1817 
and continued to reside there until his death in 1851. 
He was re-elected to the House in 1824 from Crawford, 
and from Lawrence and Crawford in 1832, and elected 
a Senator from the same counties in 1834. His son, 
James D. McGahey, was elected to the House from 
Crawford at the same time, and died during his term of 
service. Though a Tennessean, Mr. McGahey was a 
strong opponent of slavery, and was one of the twelve 
members of the House who voted against the Conven- 
tion Resolution. From the number of times he was 
elected to the Legislature it is evident he enjoyed the 
confidence of the people to a high degree. 

William Kinkade settled in what is now Lawrence 
county in 18 17. He was a member of the State Senate 
from Wayne and Lawrence from 1822 to 1824, and 
voted against the Convention Resolution. When the 
question was up before the Senate, he demanded of the 
friends of the resolution to define their position, as the 
people had a right to know whether or not their object 
in calling a convention was to introduce slavery into 
the State. As the convention men had determined in 
caucus to permit no discussion, they sat silent in their 
seats and made no response. Mr. Kinkade then com- 
menced a bold and aggressive speech, and charged on the 
convention party a purpose they dared not avow. As 
he was treading on dangerous ground, he was imme- 
diately called to order. Lt. Governor Hubbard, the 
presiding officer of the Senate, unhesitatingly applied 
the gag, and he was not permitted to proceed. He only 
served once in the Legislature. 



92 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. Kinkade was appointed postmaster at Law- 
renceville by John Quincy Adams and held the office 
many years. He was a Tenneesean by birth. He died 
in 1846, leaving two sons, one of whom, A. G. Kinkade, 
now lives in Richland county; the other son only 
survived his father for a few years. 

Robert Frazier, the Senator from Edwards county, 
who voted against the Convention Resolution, had 
been a Senator in the previous Legislature from the 
same county, and elected in 1820. Unfortunately I 
have not been able to find out much in regard to him. 
He was a farmer, and lived in that part of Edwards 
which was afterward set off to Wabash. He afterward 
took up his residence in Edwards county, about four 
miles east of Albion, and died on his farm. He was a 
Kentuckian by birth. "Frazier's Prairie," in Edwards 
county, was named after him. 

Thomas Mather, of Randolph county, was the 
most active and efficient opponent of the Convention 
Resolution in the House of Representatives. He was 
one of nine members of this House who had been 
members of the House in the preceding legislature. 
Thomas Mather and his colleague Raphael Widen, 
Risdon Moore, of St. Clair, and Abraham Cairnes, of 
Crawford, were the only members of the House, in the 
"Convention Legislature," who were opposed to the 
Convention Resolution, who had been members of the 
previous House. Mather was therefore an "old mem- 
ber," and from his experience and ability he naturally 
became the leader of the opposition. In the campaign 
which followed the adoption of the Convention Resolu- 
tion Mr. Mather bore a conspicuous part in the public 



WASHBUKNE'S EDWARD COLES 93 

discussion against the measure and rendered a great 
and valuable service to the cause. A native of Connec- 
ticut, he came to Illinois and settled In Kaskaskia In 
1818, and engaged In mercantile business. Becoming 
Interested In political affairs, two years later 1820, he 
was elected a member of the House of Representatives 
of the General Assembly, from Randolph county, In 
conjunction with Raphael Widen. He was again 
elected to the House In 1822, and re-elected In 1824. 
Governor Coles appointed him an ald-de-camp on his 
staf?, and he ever afterwards bore the title of Colonel. 
He was elected Speaker of the House In the legislature 
elected In 1824, and served during the first session. 
He resigned the speakership at the end of this session, 
and David Blackwell, of St. Clair, was elected in his 
place for the second session. He was again elected to 
the House from Randolph In 1828, in conjunction with 
Hypollte Menard. In 1832 he was elected Senator 
from Randolph and Perry, and resigned In 1834. His 
legislative service was a long and honorable one and 
useful to the State. Col. Mather held no political 
position after he resigned as Senator In 1834, but 
became identified with many public enterprises. He 
became widely known In the State as the President of 
the State Bank of Illinois, and ever maintained the 
highest character for integrity, liberality, and public 
spirit. He was the only member of the convention 
legislature I ever knew, except John Shaw. Though a 
resident of Springfield, he died in Philadelphia, March 
28, 1855. The last time I met him was a little while 
before this date, at the Astor House, New York City. 
He was then in very bad health. His widow, now over 



94 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

eighty years of age, still survives him, and resides at 
Springfield. 

Jonathan H. Pugh represented Bond county in the 
Legislature, and voted against the call of the Conven- 
tion. He afterwards removed to Springfield, where he 
figured in politics and at the Bar. He was reputed to 
be a very fine lawyer, but died at an early age, univer- 
sally respected. He ran for Congress as a Whig in 
1832. 

Doctor George Cadwell, first physician of Morgan 
county, was born the 21st of February, 1773, inWethers- 
field, Connecticut. He received his literary education 
at Hartford, his medical education at Rutland, Vermont. 
He was united in marriage with Miss Pamelia Lyon, 
daughter of Hon. Matthew Lyon, on the 12th Febru- 
ary, 1797, in Vergennes, Vermont. 

Gov. Reynolds, in his history of Illinois, says: "In 
the year 1799, sailed down the Ohio river Matthew 
Lyon and family, with John Messenger and Dr. George 
Cadwell and their respective families. The last two 
named were the sons-in-law of Lyon, and all settled 
in Kentucky, at Eddyville. Messenger and Dr. Cad- 
well left Eddyville in 1802, and landed from a boat in 
the American Bottom, not far from old Fort Chartres. 
They remained in the Bottom for some time, and Dr. 
Cadwell moved and settled on the Illinois bank of the 
Mississippi, opposite the Gasharit Island, and above 
St. Louis. He was quite a respectable citizen — 
practiced his profession, and served the people in 
various public offices. He was justice of the peace and 
county judge for many years in St. Clair county, and 
in Madison also after its formation. Since the estab 



PVASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 95 

lishment of the State Government he served in the 
General Assembly from Madison and Greene counties, 
at different times, and always acquitted himself with 
satisfaction to the public. After a long life spent in 
usefulness, he died in Morgan county quite an old man. 
He was moral and correct in his public and private life, 
and left a character much more to be admired than 
condemned; was a respectable physician, and always 
maintained an unblemished character." 

The doctor was elected State Senator from the 
county of Madison in 1818, and served the full term of 
four years. In the fall of 1820, he removed into the 
territory subsequently included in the county of 
Morgan — still in his Senatorial district; he settled in 
the point of timber known as Swinerton's Point, east 
of the Allison Mound, where he remained with his 
family until he died. In 1822, he was elected to the 
Senate from the county of Greene, and attached 
territory, and voted against the convention resolution. 
In dividing the Senators elected from nine districts into 
two classes, the seats of one to be vacated at the end of 
two years, and the other at the end of four years, the 
doctor's term was made to expire at the end of two 
years, so that he served but one session. He died ist 
of August, 1826, from an attack of bilious fever.* 

Daniel Parker, who was the senator from Craw- 
ford and Clark counties, was a Baptist minister who 
emigrated from Tennessee. He resided at Palestine, 
Crawford county. He removed from Illinois to Pales- 
tine, Texas (date not known), and for some time had 
charge of a church at that place. 

William Lowrey, representative from Clark coun- 

*Judge Wm. Thomas, in the Jacksonville Journal. 



96 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ty, voted against the Convention Resolution, and 
resided in what is now Edgar county, a few miles north 
of Paris. He was from Kentucky and had been an 
associate judge of Greenup county. After the organi- 
zation of Edgar county he served for a time as circuit 
clerk of that county. Sometime after the year 1830 
he removed to DeWitt county, Illinois, where he died. 

James Sims was born in Virginia and was taken by 
his parents to South Carolina, where he was married. 
From thence he moved to Logan county, Kentucky. 
Thence to St. Clair county, Illinois, and from thence to 
Sangamon county in 1820. He was the first Represen- 
tative from Sangamon county in the State Legislature, 
and elected in August, 1822. From Sangamon county 
he removed to Rock Creek, in what is now Menard 
county, and from thence to Morgan county. He was a 
Methodist preacher and formed the first circuit ever 
organized in Sangamon county. 

Stephen Stillman, who was the first Senator ever 
elected from Sangamon county, was born in Massa- 
chusetts and emigrated with his mother, the widow of 
Benjamin Stillman, to Sangamon county, Illinois, in the 
spring of 1820. The family settled near Williamsville. 
A post office was established there and Mr. Stillman 
was made postmaster. It was the first post office north 
of the Sangamon river. Mr. Stillman died in Peoria 
between 1835 ^^d 1840. His brother Isaiah Stillman 
was in command of a body of troops in the Black Hawk 
war in 1832, at a point in Ogle county, which has ever 
since been known as "Stillman's Run." 

Gilbert T. Pell was a member of the House ot 
Representatives from Edwards county, in the Conven- 



fVASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 97 

tion Legislature. He was the son-in-law of Morris 
Birkbeck, and very naturally was an anti-slavery man, 
who voted against the convention scheme. He con- 
tinued to live in Edwards county some time after the 
death of Mr. Birkbeck, and was elected to the lower 
Hpuse of the legislature in 1828. He afterwards left 
the State, and dying subsequently, his widow removed 
to Australia. 

My old and valued friend. Judge Joseph Gillespie, 
of Edwardsville, who still remains among us in all his 
physical and intellectual vigor, honored, respected and 
beloved, and who is a connecting link between the 
earlier and later Illinois, and whose knowledge of all of 
our earlier public men surpasses that of most men in the 
State, has been kind enough to give me some sketches 
of the members of the ''Convention Legislature," as it 
was called. The members of the House from Madison 
county who voted against the convention were Curtiss 
Blakeman and George Churchill. Of Captain Blake- 
man he says: 

"He emigrated from New York in 18 17, and along with 
several other sea captains made a settlement in Madison county, 
to which they gave the name of "Marine." They displayed 
great taste in the selection of a location. It is my deliberate con- 
viction that for beauty of scenery and fertility of soil it has no 
equal. ***** * * Captain Blakeman was always an 
outspoken abolitionist and became a member of a society that 
was formed in Edwardsville as early as 1820, in aid of the anti- 
slavery cause. Opposition to slavery was his ruling passion, and 
he felt it to be his duty to strike at it whenever it showed its head. 
He took no part in politics except for the purpose of fighting 
slavery. He commanded the ship that took General Moreau to 
Europe, who went to join the allied armies against Napoleon in 
1 8 13. He said he took the liberty to ask the General who he 



98 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

thought was the greatest captain in Europe. Moreau unhesita- 
tingly answered, saying that Bonaparte was the greatest general 
who ever lived."* 

George Churchill was another member from Madison 
county, and opposed the call of the convention. He was a 
thorough paced abolitionist all his life. By profession he was a 
printer, and was connected with the first paper published in St. 
Louis. He was from one of the eastern States. Coming to Illi- 
nois, he carried on farming during the rest of his life. He was 
frequently elected to the Legislature, and was accounted the best 
working member we ever had. He toiled like a drayhorse, but 
never made a speech of more than five minute's length. That, 
however, contained all that ought to be said. He entered into no 
rings or cliques, but went right along with his work, and was 
never out of his seat when he ought to be in it. He was never a 
candidate and never wanted office. If elected, he would serve, 
and that was all there was about it. He was a perfect walking 
encyclopedia of political knowledge. It was as dangerous to 
attack him on a question of political history as it was John Quincy 
Adams. He was never married. In person he was badly formed, 
and unprepossessing in appearance; his complexion was sallow, 
his eye lusterless and expression dull. But he possessed great 
knowledge and sense. f 

*General Moreau was invited to return from the United States to join the 
allied armies against Napoleon by the Emperor Alexander of Russia. It was but 
a few months after his frank conversation with the American sea captain that 
standing by the side of the Emperor at the battle of Dresden he was mortally 
wounded by a French bullet on the 27th of August, 1813. He died on the 2d of 
September following. The star of the great Napoleon, whom he had so highly 
complimented in his conversation with Captain Blakeman, and in fighting against 
whom he fell, had now begun to pale. The dreadful disasters to Bonaparte's 
armies at Dresden, at Leipzig and at Lutzen and Bautzen were only relieved a short 
time afterwards, when the great soldier commanding in person fell upon and nearly 
destroyed the division of Wrede's Bavarians at Hannau. General Moreau was in 
the United States from 1804 to 18 13. He lived in great quiet and it might almost 
be said in obscurity, cultivating his acres like Cincinnatus. He was one of the 
great soldiers of France. Some of the French writers say that as a tactician he 
was the equal if not the superior of Napoleon, but on the field of battle he was 
only in the second rank. 

fOEORGE Churchill was a member of the House of Representatives in the 
General Assembly from Madison county from 1822 to 1824, 1824 to 1826, 1826 to 
1828, 1828 to 1830, 1830 to 1832. He was a Senator from Madison county from 
1838 to 1842, making a total service in the Legislature of fourteen years. 



JVASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 99 

It is a melancholy reflection that after a period of 
less than sixty years so little is known of these 
members of the legislature who fought the battle of 
freedom and who rendered a service to the State and 
to humanity which can never be fully measured. I 
can appropriately repeat here what I once said on a 
cognate subject. In the wild and rapid whirl of events 
in our country we are too apt to neglect or forget history. 
"Humanity sweeps onward," but the recollections of 
men and the histories of peoples and nations are too 
often buried in forgetfulness and oblivion. To rescue 
a name worthy to be remembered and honored, to recall 
great events, to look back upon the deeds of those gone 
before us, are objects worthy of all our consideration. 

It is a somewhat remarkable fact, and in the highest 
degree honorable to the parties, that out of the eighteen 
members of the legislature who voted against the Con- 
vention Resolution, at least ten of them were from the 
slave-holding States.* 

Their names are: 

RisDEN Moore, from Georgia. 
Robert Frazier, from Kentucky. 
William Kinkade, from Tennessee. 
Abraham Cairnes, from Kentucky. 
David McGahey, from Tennessee. 
Jacob Ogle, from Virginia. 
William Lowery, from Kentucky. 
Daniel Parker, from Tennessee. 
James Sims, from South Carolina. 
Adnrew Bankson, from Tennessee. 

In addition to the sketches which Judge Gillespie 
gave me of certain members of the legislature, who 

*I am indebted not only to Judge Gillespie for much valuable information in 
respect of these anti-convention members of the Legislature, but to Judge Wm. 
Thomas, of Jacksonville; Governor Koerner of Belleville; Hon N. W. Edwards, of 
Springfield; Hon. Henry Dodge Dement, Secretary of State; Charles Churchill, 
Esq., of Albion; Hon. George Hunt, of Paris; Hon. Wm. H. Snyder, of Belleville; 
Hon. T. B. Needles, of Nashville, and my former colleagues in the House of Rep- 
resentatives, Hon. Wm. R. Morrison, of Waterloo, and Hon. James C. Allen, of 
Olney. 



100 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

voted against the call of the convention, he has sketched 
some of the leading convention men. They had the 
advantage of the anti-convention men in the body, not 
only in the numbers, but in ability and political experience. 
In the Senate there was Theophilus W. Smith, after- 
wards Judge of the Supreme Court; William Kinney, 
afterwards Lieutenant Governor; Joseph A. Beaird and 
Thomas Sloo, Jr. In the House were William M. 
Alexander, James A. Whiteside, Emanuel J. West, 
Zadok Casey, formerly Lieutenant Governor and mem- 
ber of Congress, Col. Alexander P. Field, General James 
Turney, afterwards Attorney-General of the State. I 
quote Judge Gillespie: "Theophilus W. Smith was 
Senator from Madison, and favored the call of a con- 
vention. He was an able lawyer and soon obtained a 
seat upon the bench of the Supreme Court of Illinois, 
where he would have figured pre-eminently if he had 
kept aloof from politics, but this he would not; he was 
"up to the eyes' ' in every political intrigue of the day. 
He was from the City of New York, and got his political 
education in Tammany Hall, and must have been an 
adept in the trickery for which that institution was 
famed, even in that early day. Everything done in 
our political affairs that was rash, reckless and unprece- 
dented, was laid to Judge Smith's charge." 

Continuing his sketches, Judge Gillespie says: 

"I was acquainted with William Kinney from St. Clair 
county. He was a pro-slavery man, and voted and worked for 
the call of a convention. He was one of the shrewdest men I ever 
knew, full of wit and sarcasm, and could extricate himself from a 
dilemma admirably. His educational advantages had been very 
limited, so much so that he employed the little i as a personal 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 101 

pronoun, and, when he was rallied about it, said that his reason 
for doing so was that Governor Edwards had used up all the big 
I's, and left nothing for him but the little ones. He filled very 
creditably the office of Lieutenant Governor and Internal Improve- 
ment Commissioner of the State. He had great power over men. 
He was a "hard shell" Baptist preacher, and had absolute domin- 
ion over his flock, spiritually and politically. Kinney was a very 
bold man, and would grapple with any foe. He wrote and pub- 
lished a criticism on Dickens' notes on America, in which, I think, 
he made the latter look very small. Kinney and John Reynolds 
were political rivals, and both lived in the same county, and were 
of the Democratic faith. Reynolds got the better of Kinney, 
although the latter was a man of the best natural parts. It was 
impossible for Kinney to "trim;" he had to be an ultra. Rey- 
nolds, on the other hand, could shift his sails to meet every chang- 
ing breeze, and in that way he retained a portion of the democracy, 
and got the whole of the opposition, which gave him the ascen- 
dency. Kinney was like a cat, he invariably fell upon his feet. 
John M. Peck, a very talented New England preacher, once 
thought he had Kinney down. The latter was in the habit of 
abusing the Yankees, but, on visiting New England, became 
favorably impressed with its people, and on his return home 
extolled them in the highest terms. Peck, hearing of this, thought 
he would triumph over the Governor, and remarked that he under- 
stood that his views about the Yankees had totally changed. The 
Governor said that they had undergone a partial change. He 
said he used to believe that the Yankees were all mean, but now 
he was satisfied that they had some good ones, but they kept the 
good ones at home, and sent only the mean ones out West. 

James Turney I knew but slightly. He represented Wash- 
ington county, and I think removed to Green county. He was 
elected Attorney-General. He was a lawyer, by profession, not 
supposed to be very deeply read, but succeeded very well by the 
force of his native abilities. I think he was from Tennessee, and 
died a long time ago. 

Emanuel J. West was something of a character. He was a 
democrat, and in favor of slavery. He was a splendid conver- 
sationalist, and possessed of fine manners, and to these qualities 



102 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

he owed his election at that time when public opinion ran so 
strongly in opposition to his political professions. West was born, 
I think, in Delaware, but went to the Island of TenerifFe. 

He reached Illinois about 1818, and settled on a beautiful 
farm, about seven miles northwest of Edwardsville, which he 
christened "Glorietta." He was appointed Minister to Mexico 
by General Jackson, but died before reaching his post. 

He was passionately fond of politics, and was, consequently, 
not a success as a farmer. 

Mr. West had few superiors in conversation. He was abso- 
lutely charming in that line. If he had lived he could have figured 
in public life. I think the department of diplomacy suited him. 

Alexander P. Field, of Union County, was a native of 
Kentucky, and was the nephew of Nathaniel Pope, who was Sec- 
retary of the Territory of Illinois, afterwards delegate in Congress 
from the Territory, and then Judge of the United States District 
Court for the State of Illinois. I was well acquainted with Field, 
and practiced law in the same circuit with him for many years. 
He was a very powerful and successful criminal lawyer. The first 
time I ever saw him waswhenhe was canvassing for General Jackson. 
Breese was speaking in opposition to him. Breese was an Adams 
man. They afterwards changed places: Field deployed as an 
Adams man and Breese as a democrat. The debate was a very 
able one. Field was afterwards appointed Secretary of State 
and held the office for many years, though the State was demo- 
cratic. He was legislated out of office on account of his politics. 
He removed to New Orleans before the war, where he distinguished 
himself as a criminal lawyer. An outspoken opponent of seces- 
sion, he fell under the displeasure of the rabble of the city, and he 
was constantly in danger of losing his life. He .told me, after the 
war was over, that before the Union forces got possession of New 
Orleans, he seldom laid down at night expecting to be alive in the 
morning. Infuriated crowds would beset him at every turn when- 
ever he left his house, threatening him with death." 

This is the first appearance in public life of Alex- 
ander P. Field, who represented Union county, then 
one of the most important counties in the State. He 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 103 

was a lawyer by profession. He afterwards assumed a 
good deal of importance in official positions in Illinois 
and elsewhere. He was a member of the Lower House 
in the Legislature from Union county from 1822 to 
1828. From 1828 to 1830 he represented Union, John- 
son and Alexander counties. He was Secretary of 
•State of Illinois from 1828 to 1840, when he was legis- 
lated out of office, and finally removed by judicial pro- 
ceedings. After the election of General Harrison he 
was appointed Secretary of Wisconsin Territory in 
1 841, and it was then that I first knew him. Some 
years afterwards he removed to St. Louis, and then to 
New Orleans, and was in the latter city at the breaking 
out of the war. He was regarded as a Union man, 
though on the arrival of Farragut's fleet in 1862, he 
seems to have been driven by the threats of the mob 
into publishing a card intending to convey a different 
impression. As soon as he was safe from personal vio- 
lence h-e published a second card, repudiating the first 
one in bold and defiant language and ever after that 
stood in the front ranks of the Union men. 

At the opening of the 38th Congress, December 7, 
1863, Col. Field (in conjunction with his colleague, 
Thomas Cottman) was put on the roll of the House as 
a member of Congress from Louisiana. They both 
voted on preliminary questions and for Speaker, but 
after the organization was perfected the House refused 
to swear them in as members, and subsequently decided 
that they were not entitled to seats. Col. Field made 
an able speech in support of his claim. In answer to 
suggestions touching his loyalty, he made an eloquent 
and indignant protest: 'T have always been a loyal 



104 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

man. I fought against secession to the utmost ofmy 
power. I endangered my hfe for months and months. 
I have never been anything else than a loyal man, and 
I hope that I never will be. I will stand by that flag 
wherever it floats, and when I die I hope it will be in 
that country over which it waves." It afforded me 
pleasure in this connection to speak a few words in 
vindication of Col. Field. I quote from the Congres- 
sional Globe: 

"Mr. Washburne, of Illinois: The attention of the House 
has been called to a card said to have been pubHshed in New 
Orleans by the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Field), about the 
time of the surrender of the city. I have not seen that card, but 
I desire to bear a word of testimony in regard to the gentleman 
who claims a seat here, from Louisiana. He was formerly a re- 
spected and influential citizen of Illinois, long and well-known for 
his patriotism and ability. I have known him for nearly a quarter 
of a century, and it affords me pleasure to speak from my personal 
knowledge in this regard. I received a letter from a distinguished 
citizen of Illinois who has been long in New Orleans, in relation 
to this claimant. He states that he was always one of the most 
loyal men, in that State, to the flag of the Union. He commended 
him to me for devotion to the Union under the most trying cir- 
cumstances. That is all I desire to say. I have made the state- 
ment in justice to the claimant for a seat upon this floor, and what 
I believe to be due to truth and justice. " 

The resolution paying the claimants passed by a 
large majority. The Illinois delegation (with one 
exception) believing in its propriety, and out of sym- 
pathy for an old Illinoisan, voted for it. Hon. J. C. 
Allen made a strong speech in favor of the resolution. 

Col. Field was a man of striking personal appear- 
ance, tall and well proportioned, of polished manners, 
and possessed rare conversational powers. As a lawyer 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 105 

he was particularly successful in criminal cases. After 
the war he became Attorney-General for the State of 
Louisiana, and died in 1877 at New Orleans, after a 
long and painful illness. From a * 'Convention man" 
he became a "Jackson man," and then a prominent 
and influential Whig, and dying at last as a loyal man, 
and, as he expressed it, "where the flag of his country 
waved." Many old settlers of Illinois, his contem- 
poraries, forgetting and forgiving his course on the 
Convention question, will always have a warm place in 
their memories for the gifted "Aleck Field." 



CHAPTER XL 

Action of the Convention Men; They Issue an Address to 
THE People; Col. Thomas Cox, Chairman of their Meet- 
ing; The Weakness of the "Address;" Notice of Col. 
Cox; Early Incidents in Iowa Territory; The Battle 
of Bellevue; Illinois Dough-Faces of that Day in 
Contrast with Mr. Crawford; His Letter to Governor 
Coles; The First Constitution a Good One; Cause of 
THE Discontent of the People; Emigration Passing 
through the State. 

The convention men anticipated their opponents in 
an address to the people of IlHnois. At a 'Very large 
and respectable meeting of citizens from all parts of 
the State,' ' which was held immediately after the 
adjournment of the legislature (the day before the 
' 'Appeal' ' of the other side was issued), to express their 
views relative to the Convention Resolution, Colonel 
Thomas Cox,* of Sangamon county, was chairman of 

*Col. Thomas Cox was one of the leading men of his day in Illinois. He was 
not a member of the "Convention Legislature," but he was at Vandalia during 
its session, and one of the most prominent and influential of the great number of 
citizens of the State, who visited the seat of Government, to aid in the passage of 
the Convention Resolution. He resided at Kaskaskia before Illinois was con- 
stituted a territory, and it was at his house in Kaskaskia, that the first Territorial 
Legislature met, on the 25th day of November, 1812. It did not take a very large 
house to accommodate this body, for the Legislative Council consisted only of 
Jive members, and the House of Representatives of seven members. He afterwards 
removed to Union County, and was a member of the Senate in the first State 
Legislature. He was for a long time the Register of the United States Land 
Office at Springfield, but charges were made against him, which lost him his office. 
In 1836 he obtained a contract for the survey of the public lands in that part of 
Wisconsin Territory which, in June, 1838, was constituted Iowa Territory. He 
settled on the Maquoketa River, in Jackson county, and in 1838 was elected a 
member of the House of Representatives to the first Territorial Legislature. He 
was re-elected in 1839, ^^^d became Speaker of the House. He was again elected 
in 1840. I met him in the month of April of that year, at Bellevue, the county 
seat of Jackson county, and a few days after the desperate and bloody fight which 
had occurred at that place. A gang of murderers, horse thieves, counterfeiters 
and black-legs, had got practical control of that town, and had become so powerful 
as to defy the legal authorities. A posse was called out to make arrests, and Col. 
Cox assumed command of the force that had assembled from all parts of the county. 
The outlaws entrenched in the house of the ringleaders, determined on a desperate 

106 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 107 

the meeting. At this meeting seven of the most prom- 
inent convention men of the State then at Vandaha, 
were appointed a committee to draw up resolutions and 
an address on the subject. This committee consisted 
of John McLean, afterwards United States Senator; 
Senator Theophikis W. Smith, Emanuel J. West, and 
Thomas Reynolds, afterwards Governor of Missouri; 
William Kinney, afterwards Lieutenant Governor of 
Illinois; Alexander P. Field and Joseph A. Beaird. 
This committee reported resolutions and an Address to 
the people of Illinois, at a subsequent meeting, Feb- 
ruary 17, 1823. The resolutions endorsed the Conven- 
tion Resolution, declared that it was the right and duty 
of the people to amend, alter or change their form of 
government whenever it ceases to be productive of the 
objects for which all governments are instituted, etc., 
and recommended the people to vote for a convention. 

resistance. Cox marshalled his force under the banks of the Mississippi river, 
and with great courage he and his men charged upon the house. In this desperate 
encounter seven men were killed outright and some ten or fifteen wounded. The 
result was that this gang of villians and desperadoes, one of the most dangerous, 
defiant and powerful, that ever infested the Northwest, was completely broken 
up. I attended court at Bellevue, a few days after this fight took place, which 
was on April ist, 1840. People had come to the "seat of war" from all parts of 
the county, and the most intense excitement prevailed. Nearly every man was 
armed to the teeth; freshly arrived from staid and sober New England, the sights 
I beheld were to me strange and curious. I stopped at the tavern, which had 
been kept by W. W. Brown, who was the leader of the gang, and who had been 
killed. My room-mate was Judge James Grant, of Davenport, who has been for 
nearly half a century one of the most distinguished citizens and lawyers of Iowa; 
when we were about to retire, what was my amazement to see my room-mate, 
whom I had never met before, draw out from under the back of his coat an immense 
bowie-knife and place it under his pillow. When abroad I wrote a letter to a 
friend in regard to this incident, and described Judge Grant's bowie-knife as being 
three feet long. This letter got into the newspapers. The Judge wrote me a 
letter to Paris, denying my statement, and asserting that the bowie-knife he had 
on that occasion was only two feet long. Col. Cox was one of the most imposing 
looking men I ever saw. He was six feet tall; weighed two hundred and forty 
pounds, and would attract the attention of every one wherever he went. My 
iriend, Col. W. A. Warren, of Bellevue, who settled in Jackson county about the 
same time as Col. Cox, speaks of him as an able and popular man, with many 
excellent qualities, but whose usefulness was impaired by his unfortunate habits. 
He died on his farm near the town of Maquoketa in 1843, ^"d his family afterwards 
removed to Los Angeles, California. 



108 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The address is not what might have been expected from 
the able and distinguished men on the committee to 
draw it up. They felt that policy dictated that the 
real question at issue — freedom or slavery in Illinois — 
should be obscured, and hence reasons for a change in 
the Constitution, which nobody cared anything about, 
were amplified and general principles stated in high- 
sounding and pompous phrase, while the real reason 
was studiously concealed. This address could have had 
no great effect, while the bold and manly ' 'Appeal' ' of 
the anti-slavery men was well calculated to awaken 
public attention and arouse public feeling.* 

The truth is, that the first constitution, which was 
now sought to be changed, was, in its main features, 
a good one, and the mass of the people were satisfied 
with it. They had never manifested any particular 
desire for a change until after the pro-slavery dema- 
gogues in the Legislature had initiated the project for 
a revision. It was then suddenly discovered that the 
fundamental law of the State was an ill-digested jungle 
of faults, either containing or lacking provisions ne- 
cessary to the prosperity of the State and the happiness 
of the people. Unfortunately, at this time, there was 
a general discontent among the people of the State. A 
scape-goat was wanted. It was the existing constitu- 

*It is somewhat remarkable that while so large and influential a portion of 
the people of Illinois, and some of them the most prominent men from the free 
States, were laboring to make Illinois a slave state, some distinguished Southern 
men were opposed to the whole scheme. I find in an autograph letter of \Vm. H. 
Crawford, who was then so prominent as a candidate for President, written to 
Governor Coles June 14th, 1823, the following: "Is it possible that your Conven- 
tion is intended to introduce slavery into the State? I acknowledge if I were a 
citizen I should oppose it with great earnestness; where it has ever been introduced 
it is extremely difficult to get rid of, and ought to be treated with great delicacy." 
This declaration so honorable to Mr. Crawford, a slave-holder, then Secretary of 
war, and one of the most distinguished citizens of the South, should have crimsoned 
the cheeks of the dough-faces of Illinois of that day. 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 109 

tion and it was necessary to change it. The times were 
hard. The farmer could find no market for his abundant 
crops. Manufactures languished, improvements were 
at a standstill, and the mechanic was without 
work. The country was cursed by a fluctuating and 
irredeemable paper currency, which had driven oWreal 
money out of circulation. The flow of emigration to 
the State had in a great measure ceased, but a great 
emigration passed through the State to Missouri. 
Great numbers of well-to-do emigrants from the slave 
states, taking with them their slaves, were then leaving 
their homes to find new ones west of the Mississippi. 
When passing through Illinois to their destination, with 
their well equipped emigrant wagons, drawn by splen- 
did horses, with their retinue of slaves, and with all the 
lordly airs of that class of slaveholders, they avowed 
that their only reason for not settling in Illinois was that 
they could not hold their slaves. This fact had a very 
great influence, particularly in that part of the State 
through which the emigration passed, and people de- 
nounced the unwise provision of the constitution pro- 
hibiting slavery, and thus preventing a great influx of 
population, to add to the wealth of the State. 



CHAPTER XII. 

Convention Contest Commences; The most Remarkable 

EVER IN THE StATE; ItS VIOLENCE AND BiTTERNESS; EVERY- 
body enters into it; description of it by governors 
Ford and Reynolds and Wm. H. Brown; Hostility To- 
wards Governor Coles; Insulting Demand upon him by 
THE Senate; His Dignified and Conclusive Response; 
Rejection of his Nominations; Letter to John G. Lofton. 

The Legislature had adjourned, and both parties 
had issued their manifestoes. The members and the 
great number of the prominent men of the State who 
had been attracted to Vandaha during the struggle, had 
gone to their homes. The two parties were now to 
meet face to face to decide the question before a tribu- 
nal from which there could be no appeal. Fortunately 
there was ample time for discussion, and voices could 
not be stifled as they had been in the Legislature. 
Under the constitution the vote of the people on the 
Convention Resolution could not take place until the 
next election of members of General Assembly, which 
would be on the first Monday of August, 1824, along 
period of eighteen months. 

There now commenced one of the most remarkable 
contests that was ever fought out at the hustings in 
this country. The pro-slavery men had defiantly 
thrown down the gauntlet, and the anti-slavery men 
took it up with equal defiance. The conflict was long 
and bitter, and no quarter was given on either side. 
There were not only the strong men of both parties, 
orators, judges, lawyers, but the rank and file of people 
entered into the struggle with a violence, a zeal, and a 

110 



JVASHBUKNE'S EDWARD COLES 111 

determination alike without limit and without example, 
in the State. There was a perfect avalanche of per- 
sonalities, threats and denunciations, and Governor 
Ford well says that had not the people made allowance 
for all the exaggerations and falsehoods, the reputa- 
tions of all men would have been overwhelmed and 
consumed. "Newspapers, handbills and pamphlets, 
were scattered broadcast. These missive weapons of a 
fiery contest were scattered everywhere, and every- 
where they scorched and scathed as they flew. Almost 
every stump in every county had its bellowing, indig- 
nant orator on one side or the other, and the whole 
people, for the space of months, did scarcely anything 
but read newspapers, hand-bills and pamphlets, quarrel, 
wrangle and argue with each other whenever they met 
together to hear the violent harangues of their ora- 
tors." — {Ford's History of Illinois.) 

The following is the account given of this celebrated 
contest, by Governor Reynolds in his history, "My 
Own Times:" 

"The convention question gave rise to two years of the most 
furious and boisterous excitement and contest that ever was 
visited on Illinois. Men, women and children entered the arena 
of party warfare and strife, and the families and neighborhoods 
were so divided and furious and bitter against one another, that 
it seemed a regular civil war might be the result. Many personal 
combats were indulged in on the question, and the whole country 
seemed, at times, to be ready and willing to resort to physical 
force to decide the contest. All the means known to man to con- 
vey ideas to one another were resorted to, and practised with 
energy. The press teemed with publications on the subject. 
The stump-orators were invoked, and the pulpit thundered anath- 
emas against the introduction of slavery. The religious com- 
munity coupled freedom and Christianity together, which was one 



112 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of the most powerful levers used in the contest. At one meeting of 
the friends of freedom in St. Clair county, more than thirty- 
preachers of the gospel attended and opposed the introduction of 
slavery into the State." 

The Hon. William H. Brown, a former president 
of the Chicago Historical Society, in his admirable 
sketch of the "Early Movement in Illinois for the 
Legalization of Slavery,' ' read before the Society De- 
cember 5, 1864, thus speaks of the great contest: 

"The struggle which now commenced, and was continued 
through the succeeding eighteen months, was one of no ordinary 
character. Our previous elections had been conducted with 
warmth and zeal; but into this canvass was infused a bitterness 
and malignity which the agitation of the Slavery question only 
engenders. Why it always produces this result, is worthy of the 
investigation of the moralist and philosopher. Other great evils, 
political or moral, are discussed with freedom, and measures for 
their amelioration or prevention meet with no outward opposition; 
but call in question the right of one man to enslave another, or 
even make an effort to confine this gigantic sin to the territory 
in which it exists, and the fiercest passions are aroused in the 
hearts of its advocates, and the lack of power alone saves their 
opponents from utter destruction. 

In this spirit was the contest of 1823-4 waged. Old friend- 
ships were sundered, families divided and neighborhoods arrayed 
in opposition to each other. Threats of personal violence were 
frequent, and personal collisions a common occurrence. As in 
times of warfare, every man expected an attack, and was prepared 
to meet it. Pistols and dirks were in great demand, and formed 
a part of the personal habiliments of all those conspicuous for their 
opposition to the Convention measure. Even the gentler sex 
came within the vortex of this whirlwind of passion; and many 
were the angry disputations of those whose cares and interests 
were usually confined to their household duties." 

The hostility of the pro-slavery men, both in and 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 113 

out of the legislature, toward Governor Coles, was in- 
tense during the winter of 1822-3. It culminated in 
mobbing his residence after the legislature adjourned. 
It was the high character of the Governor, the great 
influence he began to exercise over public opinion, and 
his intense anti-slavery proclivities, which made him as 
much hated as feared. No violence or abuse had any 
effect upon him, but he pursued the even tenor of his 
way, always maintaining the dignity of his position, 
but never slackening his efforts nor abating his zeal. 

It was in the height of the contest on the Conven- 
tion Resolution in the Legislature that the Senate made 
an impudent demand on the Governor. It was not 
enough to respectfully request him, but it showed its 
animus in passing a curt resolution which ''required'' 
him to lay certain papers before that body. This un- 
warranted, not to say insulting, action of the Senate, 
was promptly met by the following message from the 
Governor, which showed how ridiculous was the 
assumption of the honorable Senators: 

Message of Governor Coles to the Senate. 

To the Senate of the State of Illinois: 

I have received a Resolution from the Senate, by which 
"the Governor is required to lay before the Senate all the recom- 
mendations of all the persons recommended for the offices of 
Recorder of the counties of Morgan and Fulton." In conse- 
quence of the novel and unprecedented nature of this Resolution, 
I have given the subject great consideration, and with every dis- 
position to comply, not only with whatever the Senate has a 
right to require, but with every reasonable request it may express, 
I feel myself constrained, under my impressions of the relative 
constitutional powers of the Senate and the Executive, to decline 
complying with the requisition contained in the above resolution. 



114 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The Constitution of this State, the source from whence the 
powers and duties as well of the Senate as of the Governor are 
derived, declares that "the Governor shall nominate, and by and 
with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint all officers 
whose offices are established by this Constitution, or shall be 
established by law, and whose appointments are not herein other- 
wise provided for." By a fair construction of this provision, it 
seems that it is the province of the Governor to nominate, and of 
the Senate to advise and consent, or not to advise and consent to 
nomination; and a judicious exercise of this power, on the part 
of the Senate, it is conceived, is abundantly sufficient to guard the 
State against the appointment of persons whose character and 
qualifications are not such as to render them good and useful 
officers. The power of the Senate being thus expressly confined 
to approving or rejecting nominations, it is not known by what 
authority it derives the right to require of the Governor all the 
recommendations of the persons named, much less those of all 
the others who may have been recommended; a precedent for 
which, it is believed, cannot be found in the proceedings of the 
Federal Government, or the Government of any of the States 
whose Constitution contains a similar provision. Indeed, such 
an authority could not be exercised by the Senate without greatly 
abridging the constitutional powers of the Governor in making 
his selections. 

If the Senate is to be governed, or its decisions influenced, by 
the written evidence which might be in the hands of the Governor, 
it would very frequently act on imperfect and very different data 
from that which probably decided him in making the nomination, 
as it is well known that most recommendations to office are made 
verbally, and the Governor occasionally nominates or appoints 
an individual from his own personal knowledge of his character 
and qualifications. 

Edward Coles. 
February 14, 1823. 

The following letter of Governor Coles to John G. 
Lofton, illustrates the vindictive feeling of the Senate 
towards the Governor: 



fVASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 115 

Vandalia, Feb. i6, 1823. 

Dear Sir: — Being very sensible of the strong claims you have 
on the State from your long residence, the many valuable services 
you have rendered it, and the justly high character you have 
acquired from your honorable and manly conduct; in one word, 
believing there was no man who had stronger claims or better 
qualifications, I have been induced from these considerations, as 
well as the pleasure I felt in giving you a proof of my high respect 
and sincere regard, to nominate you to the Senate as recorder for 
the county of Fulton. In these times of party heat, when the 
worst feelings are enlisted in the worst of causes; when the friends 
of freedom are oppressed, denounced and proscribed by the 
friends of Slavery — in such time, I say, as this, I felicitated myself 
in having been able to select an individual so perfectly fitted in 
qualification, and so perfectly unexceptionable in character, that 
I had not supposed that the blackest demon of faction could have 
raised his head against him, but in this I was mistaken, for on 
yesterday the Senate, to my inexpressible surprise, rejected your 
nomination. I have done you the justice to state that you had 
not applied for the office, but that I had been induced to nominate 
you purely for my regard for you, and from a conviction of your 
pre-eminent claims and qualifications, and that I thought the 
emoluments of the office would be such as to induce you to accept 
it; and that I was the more confirmed in my belief of your accept- 
ance, from the circumstance of your not having yet purchased the 
place on which you now reside. This statement of the reasons 
for my nominating you is due to you as well as to myself. The 
regret I feel at your rejection could greatly be increased if I should 
find that you were mortified at it, and it would be especially pain- 
ful to me if I should have done what may prove displeasing to 
you. As I write in haste, I must conclude by assuring you of my 
great respect and sincere regard. 

Edward Coles. 
J. G. Lofton, Esq. 

P.S. Not having had an opportunity of forwarding this 
letter, I have opened it to add that since your rejection I have 
nominated to the Senate, Pascal P. Enos, who has also been re- 
jected — after which I nominated O. M. Ross, of Fulton county, 



116 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

which nomination the Senate neither rejected nor confirmed, but 
adjourned this evening precipitafe/y without having given previous 
notice of their intention, either to the House of Representatives 
or to the Governor. I refer you to the gentleman who will hand 
you this for an account of the late extraordinary proceeding here. 

E. C. 
Feb. i8th. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Governor Coles the Leader of the Anti-Convention Forces; 
His intense earnestness; Letter to Richard Flower; 
Relations between Governor Coles and Nicholas 
Biddle; Correspondence between them; Biddle Intro- 
duces Governor Coles to Roberts Vaux, of Philadelphia, 
Member of the Society of Friends; Notice of Roberts 
Vaux; His great Services to the Anti-Convention 
Cause; Correspondence between Coles and Vaux; 
Another Letter of Mr. Biddle to Governor Coles. 

After the adjournment of the Legislature, Gover- 
nor Coles addressed himself with great earnestness to 
the task which confronted him, as the acknowledged 
leader of the anti-convention forces. There were a 
large number of able men all over the State who devoted 
their time and talents to the great cause, but the posi- 
tion of Governor Coles, his residence at the seat of 
government, his prestige as an anti-slavery man, and 
his ability as a writer, placed him in the very front rank 
of the anti-convention men. He took steps to get con- 
trol of the only newspaper published in Vandalia at the 
time, and entered into correspondence with the leading 
men in the State and elsewhere, opposed to the con- 
vention. The following letter of Governor Coles, to 
Richard Flower, shows how intensely earnest he was 
and with what a lofty spirit he was animated. Mr. 
Flower was an Englishman and one of the founders of 
the English colony of Edwards county.* 

*This letter of Governor Coles will naturally awaken an interest in Edwards 
county, and some of its pioneers who fought with the Governor the great battle 
against slavery. Edwards county has an interesting history. It was organized 
while Illinois was yet a Territory, and named Edwards county, after its Terri- 
torial Governor, Ninian Edwards. It embraced al! the country north of White 
county, on the eastern side of the State. The English colony that settled in the 
county prior to 1820, gave great character to it by reason of the distinguished men 

117 



118 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Letter of Governor Coles to Richard Flower. 

Vandalia, April 12, 1823. 
Dear Sir: — I would have made my acknowledgments to you 
long since for your kind letter of 13th of February, but for my 
having been prevented from writing by the bearer of it, from the 
haste with which he took his departure hence, and for my being 
much harassed by the business attendant on the approaching 
adjournment of the Legislature; and for my having gone soon 
after the adjournment to Edwardsville, where I was detained 
until a few days since by torrents of rain, which have deluged the 
country and rendered the streams and roads impassable. The 
perusal of your letter afforded me particular pleasure. It breathes 
the genuine sentiments of a Republican and of a philanthropist; 
and produced an emotion which was "pleasing though mournful 
to the soul." Pleasing that an adopted citizen should possess 
principles so entirely accordant with our free institutions; and as 
it held out encouragement that the people would not sanction the 
late conduct and measures of their Representatives — mournful, 
that if the slave faction should succeed, how unpleasant and truly 
unfortunate the situation of many of us, who have removed from 
a great distance and invested our all in property which we shall 

who composed it. They named the county seat "Albion." Much is said in this 
Paper of Morris Birkbeck, who with Richard and George Flower, was the founder 
of the "English settlement." The Flowers were men of wealth and education, 
and strongly Republican in sentiment, and intensely anti-slavery. The letter of 
Governor Coles to Richard Flower shows the high estimate he placed on his 
influence. Before coming to Illinois he had spent a year at Lexington, Kentucky, 
having been induced to settle there by Mr. Clay. He would have made his home 
in the "Blue Grass Region," but his hatred of slavery induced him to leave it and 
emigrate to Illinois, where his son, George Flower, had preceded him. George 
Mower was a man of mark and influence in his day and generation, well known in 
F-urope as well as in this country. He spent one winter with Thomas Jefferson 
at Monticello, and was for two or three months the guest of Henry Clay, at Ash- 
land. He was in correspondence of many distinguished literary and political men. 
In i860, with a thoughtful liberality, he presented to the Chicago Historical So- 
ciety many original letters addressed to him by Lafayette, Jefferson, Cobbett, the 
Abbe Gautier, the Count de Lasteyrie, D. Macdonald, then of New Harmony, 
Indiana (since Lord of the Isles and Earl of Skye), and other distinguished persons. 
All these valuable letters were consumed by the fire which destroyed Chicago in 
1871. 

Benjamin Flower, the brother of Richard, never came to this country, but 
remained in England. He was a literary man and politician. An ultra-republi- 
can, he was once sent to the Tower of London for a speech he made in advocacy 
o\ his doctrines. His daughter, Sarah p'lowcr Adams, was the author of the 
popular hymn, "Nearer, my God, to thee." 



WASHBURN E'S EDWARD COLES 119 

be compelled to abandon or to sacrifice, to seek new homes we 
know not where; or remain in a community whose principles and 
practice are not only entirely at variance with our own, but of a 
character calculated daily to harrow up our feelings in the most 
painful way. I was born in the very bosom of negro slavery; have 
seen it in all its bearings; reflected well upon the nature of it, and 
having found it impossible to reconcile it either with my political 
or religious creed, I abandoned my native State, my aged parents 
and relations, to seek in this State a community whose principles 
and practice I presumed were in unison with my own. Judge, 
then, of my feelings at the efforts which have been made and are 
now making to change this free community of ours into a truly 
odious one, consisting of masters and slaves — and you can judge 
the better as your situation and principles are very similar with 
mine. The great inducement with us both to emigrate to this 
State was the firm belief that we should not be disturbed by the 
clanking of the fetters of Slavery; that tyranny would not be given 
a legal sanction, nor afforded the food on which it could prey. 
But the majority of the people's representatives, having by the 
most violent and unprecedented measure, taken a step with the 
view of breaking down those barriers to oppression, which had 
been erected by the wisdom and virtue of those who framed the 
fundamental law of the State, and which you and many of us 
considered, if not sacred, at least to have been permanently 
settled, it becomes us to be on the alert to defeat a measure, which 
if it should succeed, will not only be ruinous, and in the highest 
degree unjust to many of us who have emigrated here under the 
most solemn assurance that "neither slavery nor involuntary 
servitude" should exist; but it will be of incalculable injury to the 
interest of the State, of the Union, and of the extension and ad- 
vancement of freedom, and the amelioration of the human race. 

You reside in a favorable situation to aid with effect this 
great question. The county just below you forms the dividing 
line between the sections of country in which the free and slave 
parties predominate. It has occurred to me that the friends of 
freedom would give ample support, and that the good cause would 
be greatly promoted by establishing a printing press on the East- 
ern side of the State. And I know of no place where it could be 



120 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

established to so much advantage, as at Albion. Besides the 
advantage it has in locality, there are in Albion, and its vicinity, 
many persons who wield chaste and powerful pens, and who have 
the means, and I trust, the disposition of patronizing an establish- 
ment of the kind. Pardon me for asking it as a favor to me per- 
sonally, and as a sacrifice to the furtherance of the best and most 
virtuous of causes, that all personal, sectional, national, county 
or town feelings, and all other unkind feelings, let them originate 
from what cause they may, shall be buried, at least while the great 
question is pending. I will write and ask the same favor of Mr. 
Birkbeck. I have but little news. From all that I can learn a 
considerable majority of the people of the counties situated in the 
north-west part of the State, as far south as Monroe, St. Clair and 
Washington, are opposed to a call of a convention, but great and 
extraordinary efforts are already making to induce the people to 
vote for it. 

Present my respectful compliments to Mrs. F. and family, 
and to your son and his lady, and be assured of my respect and 
esteem. Edward Coles. 

To Richard Flower, Esq., 

Albion, Edwards County, 111. 

I have spoken of the relations existing between 
Governor Coles and Nicholas Biddle. In view of the 
struggle which the Governor had entered upon in Illi- 
nois for the purpose of defeating the introduction of 
slavery into the State, and from the necessity of obtain- 
ing help whenever it could be had in aid of the work, 
he addressed the following letter to Mr. Biddle: 

Governor Coles to Nicholas Biddle. 

Vandalia, Illinois, April 22, 1823. 
Dear Sir: — It has been a long time since I either wrote to you 
or heard from you. I made a visit last summer to my relations 
in Virginia, and intended to have extended my tour as far as 
Philadelphia, which I should certainly have done, for I am still 
more attached to Philadelphia than any other city in the Union, 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 121 

but for my trip having been delayed by a severe attack of bilious 
fever, and having been prolonged in Virginia beyond the time I 
expected, and the necessity I was under to be back here by the 
meeting of the Legislature, to enter on the duties of the office to 
which I had been recently elected. I assure you, when about 
to leave Washington (where I staid only four or five days) and to 
turn my face to the west, there was a great struggle between a 
sense of duty which dragged me here, and my inclinations and 
many strong attractions which drew me to your charming city. 
There has long existed in this State a strong party in favor of 
altering the constitution and making it a slave-holding State; 
while there is another party in favor of a convention to alter the 
constitution, but deny that Slavery is their object. These two 
parties have finally, by the most unprecedented and unwarrant- 
able proceedings (an account of which you have no doubt seen in 
the newspapers), succeeded in passing a resolution requiring the 
sense of the people to be taken at the next general election (August, 
1824), on the propriety of calling a convention for the purpose of 
altering the constitution. Knowing that this measure would be 
strenuously urged during the late session of the Legislature, and 
that many who professed to be hostile to the further introduction 
of Slavery, would advocate it, and believing that it would have a 
salutary effect to furnish them an opportunity of evincing the 
sincerity of their professions; and being also urged by a strong 
sense of the obligations imposed on me, by my principles and feel- 
ings, to take notice of the subject, I called the attention of the 
Legislature in a speech I delivered on being sworn into office (a 
printed copy of which I sent you by mail) to the existence of 
Slavery in the State, in violation of the great fundamental prin- 
ciples of the ordinance, and recommended that just and equitable 
provision be made for its abrogation. As I anticipated, this part 
of my speech created a considerable excitement with those who 
were openly or secretly in favor of making Illinois a slave-holding, 
rather than making it really as well as nominally, a free State — 
who wished to fill it rather than empty it of slaves. Never did 1 
see or hear in America of party spirit going to such lengths, as 
well officially as privately, as it did here on this question. In- 
deed, it seems to me that Slavery is so poisonous as to produce a 



122 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

kind of delirium in those minds who are excited by it. This 
question, and the manner of carrying it, is exciting great interest 
throughout the State, and has already kindled an extraordinary 
degree of excitement and warmth of feeling, which will no doubt 
continue to increase until the question is decided. I assure you, 
I never before felt so deep an interest in any political question. 
It preys upon me to such a degree, that I shall not be happy or 
feel at ease until it is settled. It is impossible to foresee the 
injurious effects resulting to this State or the unhappy conse- 
quences which may arise to the Union, from the success of the 
slave party in this State. Many of us who immigrated to this 
State under the solemn assurance that there should exist here 
"neither slavery nor involuntary servitude," will, if the slave 
faction succeeds, be compelled to sacrifice or abandon our prop- 
erty and seek new homes, we know not where, or remain in a 
community whose principles we shall disapprove of, and whose 
practice will be abhorrent to our feelings. And already we hear 
disputed the binding effect of the ordinance — the power of Con- 
gress to restrict a State, etc., etc., from which I fear, if the intro- 
duction of Slavery should be tolerated here, the discussions on 
the expediency and unconstitutionality of the measure will not 
in all probability be confined to the citizens of this State. But 
this is a part of the question too painful for me to dwell on. I 
trust the good sense and virtue of the citizens of Illinois will never 
sanction a measure so well calculated to disturb the harmony of 
the Union and so injurious to its own prosperity and happiness, 
as well as so directly opposite to the progress of those enlightened 
and liberal principles which do honor to the age. But to insure 
this it is necessary that the public mind should be enlightened on 
the moral and political effects of Slavery. You will confer a particu- 
lar favor on me and promote the virtuous cause in which I am 
enlisted, by giving me information, or referring me to the sources 
from whence I can draw it, calculated to elucidate the general 
character and effects of Slavery — its moral, political and social 
effects — facts showing its effects on the price of lands, and general 
improvement and appearance of a country — of labor both as it 
respects agriculture and manufactures, etc., etc. The State of 
Pennsylvania having been long distinguished for its attachment to 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 123 

free principles, there is no doubt but what you can procure in 
Philadelphia many valuable pamphlets and publications which 
would throw light on this question. Any which you may have it 
in your power to procure and forward, will be most thankfully 
received, and the amount of the expense repaid as soon as it is 
known. Your old and truly sincere friend, 

Edward Coles. 
To Nicholas Biddle, Esq., 

President of the Bank of the United States, 
Philadelphia. 

Mr. Biddle to Governor Coles. 

Philadelphia, May 20, 1823. 
Dear Si?-: — I have just received your friendly letter of the 
22nd ult., to which I shall take the first moment of leisure to give 
a more detailed answer. In the meantime I can only say that I 
feel most sincerely the embarrassment of your situation, and hope 
that you may be able to triumph in the good cause. That no 
effort may be wanting, you shall have all the assistance which I 
can give or procure. My occupations necessarily absorb so much 
of my time that I can promise you little on my part, personally, 
but I have already engaged two of our most active gentlemen 
familiar with that subject, who will cheerfully and zealously con- 
tribute to your support. The first fruit of their labor is the 
pamphlet accompanying this letter. I have not had time to read 
it, as I am anxious to forward it without delay, but I understand 
that it is the latest and best work on the subject, and goes directly 
to the question of the superiority of free over slave labor. Mrs. 
B. and Mr. Craig are glad to hear of your prosperity, and desire 
to be particularly remembered to you. 

With great sincerity of regard, 

yrs., 
Edward Coles, Esq., N. Biddle. 

Vandalia. 

Mr. Biddle to Governor Coles. 

Philadelphia, May 26, 1823. 
My Dear Sir: My present occupations necessarily engross 



124 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

so much of my time that I can scarcely contribute more than my 
good wishes to the great cause which so naturally and deeply 
interests you. It gives me peculiar satisfaction, therefore, to pro- 
cure for you the correspondence of my friend, Mr. Roberts Vaux, 
to whom this note is intended to serve as an introduction. Mr. 
Vaux is a gentleman of education, talents, fortune, leisure and 
high standing in the community. He feels sensibly all the em- 
barrassments of your situation; he perceives the deep importance 
of defeating this first effort to extend to the north-western country 
the misfortunes of the slave population, and he is disposed to co- 
operate warmly and zealously with you. I know of no individual 
more calculated to render you the most efficient service. He is 
worthy of all your confidence, and I recommend to you to yield 
it to him. implicitly, as I am sure it will be repaid by every kind" 
ness and every service in his power. 

With great esteem and regard, 
yrs., 
Edward Coles, Esq., N. Biddle. 

Vandalia, 

Illinois. 

This letter of Governor Coles to Mr. Biddle was the 
means of bringing the Governor and Mr. Roberts Vaux 
into communication, as will be seen by the following 
letter: 

Mr, Biddle to Governor Coles. 

Philadelphia, May 26, 1823. 
My Dear Sir: I have put into the hands of my friend, Mr. 
Vaux, a note for you which he will accompany with a communica- 
tion on the subject which now occupies you. Mr. Vaux will be 
hearty and zealous in the cause, and I really deem it a subject of 
congratulation to you, to procure the assistance of one who is 
more able and willing than any individual of my acquaintance to 
assist you. There is one thing which I wish to add. The Aboli- 
tion Society of this city, has been the subject, whether justly or 
not I am unable to determine, of much hostility at a distance, and 
it would be rather injurious than beneficial to have it supposed 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 125 

that the society was active in the cause which you are supporting. 
You will therefore understand that neither the Abolition Society 
nor any other society has the least concern in this matter. The 
simple fact is that Mr. Vaux, and two or three of his friends, have 
been so much pleased with your past conduct in relation to Slavery, 
and have so deep a sense of their duty to resist the extension of 
that system, that they mean to volunteer in assisting you, with- 
out any connections with any set of men, and without any motives 
which the most honorable might not be proud to avow. 

Very sincerely, 

yrs., 
Edward Coles, Esq., N. Biddle. 

Vandalia, 

Illinois. 

Mr. Vaux having thus been introduced by Mr. 
Biddle, he addressed the following letter to Governor 
Coles:* 

Philadelphia, 5 Mo. 27, 1823. 
To Edward Coles, Esq.: 

Esteemed Friend: — My friend, Nicholas Biddle, has kindly 
furnished me with a note of introduction to thy correspondence, 

*The perusal of the letters of Roberts Vaux to Governor Coles cannot fail 
to awaken a real interest among the people of Illinois. I am glad to publish them, 
as showing the deep and unselfish interest this remarkable man took in preserving 
the soil of Illinois to freedom. He was the type of a class of men ("Friends") in 
Philadelphia, whose names and deeds have illustrated the history of that city. 
Roberts Vaux was born in Philadelphia, January 21, 1786, and died January 7, 
1836, and while holding the position of Associate Justice of the Court of Common 
Pleas, for the city and county of Philadelphia. Blessed with health and com- 
petence, he pursued a career marked by honor, benevolence and usefulness. Mr. 
Thomas McKean Pettit in his memoir, justly says of him, "The vigor of a fine 
intellect, with stores of useful information, a knowledge of men and business, 
obtained by judicious observation and careful training, which combined, could 
have been successfully exerted in the acquisition of wealth, or the gratification of 
political ambition, were all employed for the benefit of the human race." 

In reference to the great services rendered by Mr. Vaux, in a letter of acknowl- 
edgment. Governor Coles thus writes to him: "Such noble, generous and fervid 
benevolence as yours is highly honorable, even to a Friend, and is a new and 
striking proof of that extended philanthropy, and pure, and heaven-born spirit of 
Brotherly love, by which that denomination of Christians has ever been distin- 
guished." 

The part which Mr. Biddle took in this great controversy, and the timely 
assistance he rendered, deserves to be remembered to his credit, and will soften 
the prejudice which was excited against him as the President of the United States 
Bank. 



126 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

which is transmitted by the mail that conveys this letter. I have 
been induced thus to solicit access to thy notice, because thy con- 
duct in relation to the emancipation of thy slaves could not fail 
to beget great respect for an individual whose noble, and generous 
example displayed so much practical wisdom, and Christian benevo- 
lence. Nor has it been less gratifying to be informed of thy 
official efforts to prevent the overthrow of those constitutional 
barriers, which were erected to protect the State of Illinois, from 
the moral, and political evils inseparable from domestic slavery. 

It is really astonishing, that any part of the inhabitants of 
your State should wish to introduce a system which is generally 
reprobated where its effects have been longest known, and from 
the dominion of which, such of our fellow citizens of the South as 
are disposed to examine the subject with the gravity which it 
certainly merits, most anxiously desire to be redeemed. 

Notwithstanding, however, the lessons which experience has 
taught in this respect, it is likely that Illinois will be agitated by 
the exertions of unreflecting men, and possibly without timely 
and energetic efforts to counteract their schemes, they may be 
enabled to persuade a majority of her people to violate their early 
vows on this subject, and pollute your soil with the blood and 
tears of slaves. 

Feeling as I do, a deep sympathy for thyself, thus threatened 
with the most unhappy consequences, and desirous that miseries 
and mischiefs, the amount of which no mind can fully calculate, 
may be averted from the extensive and fair region of which Illi- 
nois forms a part, I would willingly contribute anything in my 
power, and with these views I offer my own, and the services of a 
few of my friends, in this interesting cause. 

We have thought that benefit might result from making 
judicious selections from writers whose purpose is to show the 
iniquity, and impolicy of slavery — these selections to be printed 
in the Tract form (at our own expense) and forwarded to Illinois 
for gratuitous distribution. If this plan should meet thy appro- 
bation, I should be glad to receive an early intimation to that 
effect, but should thy official station, or duties, render it either 
improper or inconvenient for thee to take an active part in this 
business, perhaps it will be in thy power to select a few individ- 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES \Z1 

uals who may be disposed to aid us, and in that event, I shall be 
obliged by thy introduction of such persons to my correspondence. 
Accept the salutation of my respect, 

Roberts Vaux. 

The above letter of Mr. Vaux was answered by 
Governor Coles as follows: 

Edwardsville, Illinois, June 27, 1823. 
Esteemed Friend: 

Your kind and highly interesting letter of the 27th ult. was 
rec'd by the last mail, and has been perused with very great 
pleasure. The benevolent sentiments you express, and the cor- 
rect views you take of the great question which is now unfortu- 
nately agitating this State, and the deep interest you evince for the 
prosperity and happiness of Illinois, and the preservation of the 
right and liberty of its inhabitants, do credit alike to the native 
benevolence of your heart and to those divine and political princi- 
ples which distinguish the real Christian and Republican, and 
cannot fail to present a contrast, which, however mortifying it 
may be to me as an Illinoisan, cannot but be highly gratifying to 
me as a man, to see one so far removed from the scene, and with- 
out any other interest except that which he feels in the general 
happiness of his species, nobly and generously volunteering his 
services to assist in promoting the cause of humanity, whilst there 
are thousands here strenuously advocating the giving a legal 
sanction to the oppression and abject slavery of their fellow- 
creatures. Such noble, generous, and fervid benevolence as yours, 
is highly honorable even to a Friend; and is a new and striking 
proof of that extended philanthropy, and pure and heaven-born 
spirit of Brotherly love, by which that denomination of Christians 
have ever been distinguished, and cannot fail to excite the admira- 
tion and win the confidence and attachment of all — especially 
of those like myself, who daily experience pain and mortification 
in hearing doctrines advanced which are directly in opposition to 
the great fundamental truths of our religious and political creeds. 

In behalf of the friends of freedom in this State, I give you 
sincere and grateful thanks for the offer of your services to assist 



128 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

us to enlighten the minds of our fellow citizens, by publishing 
judicious selections and observations on the iniquity and impolicy • 
of Slavery, in tract form, and distributing them gratuitously 
through the State. It may be proper, however, to remark that 
distant friends should be cautious in the manner of making their 
benevolent exertions, as there is danger that designing partisans 
here may not only paralyze the effort, but turn it against the cause 
it was intended to promote, by representing it to be the inter- 
ference of other States for the purpose of influencing the opinion 
of the people of this. An ingenious pen could dress up this sub- 
ject in a manner to give it great effect in this country. Would it 
not, therefore, be best not to state on the face of the publications 
where they were printed? They could be printed in Philadelphia, 
and sent with the goods of some merchant of St. Louis at a much 
less expense than by mail. 

Not being aware of any consideration which should restrain 
me, but on the contrary believing that my present office increases 
the obligations I am under, as a good citizen, to exert myself to 
enlighten the minds of my fellow citizens, and strenuously to 
oppose every measure which I am convinced is unjust in principle 
or injurious in its effects, and believing Slavery to be both iniqui- 
tous and impolitic, I conceive myself bound, both as a citizen and 
as an officer, to do all in my power to prevent its introduction into 
this State. I will therefore cheerfully render you assistance in 
distributing any publications you may forward, or give you any 
information you may desire. 

The friends of freedom here propose making publication 
similar to those you suggest, but they will not have the same 
means of doing justice to the subject that you will have in Phila- 
delphia. We are particularly anxious, not only to present to the 
people proper views of the immoral and anti-christian, unjust and 
anti-republican character of Slavery, but also facts showing its 
impolicy and injurious effects in retarding the settlement and 
prosperity of the State, by checking emigration to it, and para- 
lyzing the enterprise and activity of its citizens — that it would 
impede the progress of manufacture, be prejudicial to agriculture, 
and in one word, to the future prosperity as well as to the immedi- 
ate interest of the State. The great argument here in favor of 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 129 

the introduction and toleration of Slavery, is that it would have the 
immediate effect of raising the price of lands, and adding to 
the population and wealth of the country. We want facts to 
disprove these assertions, and also to show that Slavery would 
operate to the injury of the poor or laboring classes of society. 
Strange as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that there are 
many persons who are in principle opposed to Slavery who will 
yet vote for making this a slave-holding State, under the belief 
that by so doing they will be enabled to make an immediate and 
advantageous sale of their lands, and thus gratify that restless 
and rambling disposition which is so common with frontier settlers. 
Pardon this long and hasty letter. Give my regards to our 
mutual friend Biddle, and be assured that your generous benevo- 
lence has inspired me with great respect and sincere regard for you. 

Edward Coles. 
Roberts Vaux, 

Philadelphia. 

Roberts Vaux to Governor Coles. 

BiRDwooD Lodge (near Phil'a.), 7 Mo. 24, 1823. 

Esteemed Friend: — I cannot delay an immediate acknowledg- 
ment of thy letter of the 27th Ultimo, which reached me at my 
summer residence to-day. 

It affords me unfeigned satisfaction to learn from it that thee 
approves the plan which I submitted for thy consideration. Antici- 
pating a favorable notice of the suggestion, by a mind so devoted 
as thine to the promotion of the great ends of humanity, of justice, 
and of National honor, three pamphlets were prepared, which will 
be immediately printed, and transmitted to thy address at St. 
Louis. One of these tracts is designed to show the impolicy and 
unprofitableness of Slave Labor, etc., and some arguments are 
drawn from the published opinions of several distinguished citi- 
zens of the slave-holding States, among which Col. Taylor's are not 
the least authoritative and cogent. Another essay exhibits a 
succinct account of the cruelties of the Slave Trade, derived from 
authentic sources; and a third pamphlet is intended to show that 
the interminable bondage of any portion of the human race is, 
on the part of the oppressors, a flagrant violation of natural and 



130 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Divine Justice, and utterly inconsistent with the doctrines of our 
Holy Redeemer. 

Aware of the unpopularity of Philadelphia, and especially of 
Quaker sentiments on this particular topic, with all those who 
attempt to justify slavery, it was originally determined to avoid 
giving any complexion whatever to these publications which 
might induce the belief that they proceeded from this State, or 
that individuals of the Society of Friends had any agency in the 
preparation of them. The coincidence of our judgment in regard 
to the manner of treating the subject is worthy of remark. 

If the least benefit results from this humble effort, it- will 
administer to my happiness, which will be augmented by the 
reflection, that it owes its origin to thy own emphatic summons 
for aid, in a cause which demands the exercise of every generous 
and patriotic feeling. 

That indulgent Heaven may crown thy labors with success, 
is the sincere desire of thy friend. 

With great truth and respect. 
To Edward Coles, Esquire, Roberts Vaux. 

Governor of Illinois, Edwardsville, Illinois. 

P.S. — On my next visit to the city, I intend to communicate 
thy message to our friend Nicholas Biddle. 

R.V. 

Governor Coles to Air. Biddle. 

Edwardsville, Sept. i8, 1823. 
Dear Sir: — I have been long anxious to return you my thanks 
for your kind letters of May 20th and 26th, and also for the accept- 
able service you rendered me in making me known to Mr. Vaux, 
from whom I have had the pleasure of receiving two letters, and 
a promise of his assistance in preventing our soil from being 
polluted with the foul and disgraceful stain of slavery. The dis- 
interested and praiseworthy zeal he evinces is as honorable to him, 
as it is gratifying to me, and is well calculated not only to give 
me an exalted opinion of his character, but to awaken the most 
lively feelings of regard and friendship for him. I wish, when 
you see him, you would tender him my kind regards and thanks 
for his letter of July 24, and say to him, I hope soon to receive 



fVASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 131 

the packages promised. The propriety of calling a convention, 
or more properly speaking, of making this a slave-holding State, 
is still discussed with considerable warmth, and continues to en- 
gage the undivided attention of the people, being the constant 
theme of conversation in every circle, and every newspaper teems 
with no other subject. Unfortunately for the friends of freedom, 
tour out of five of the newspapers printed in this State are opposed 
to them; and the only press whose editor is in favor of freedom, 
although a pretty smart editor, has rendered himself unpopular 
with many by his foolish and passionate attacks upon many of 
the prominent men on his side of the question. If, however, the 
advocates of Slavery have the advantage of us in printing presses, 
we have greatly the advantage of them in possessing men of the 
most talents, and most able to wield the pen and use the press, 
with effect; and as three out of four of their presses have pro- 
fessed a willingness to admit well-written original essays on both 
sides of the question, we shall have not only the best of the argu- 
ment, but be able, I trust, to present it in the best dress to the 
public. I am happy in telling you that the advocates of a con- 
vention have been losing ground ever since the adjournment of 
the Legislature; and there is no doubt with me if the question 
were now to be decided, that a majority of the people would be 
opposed to it. But what will be the state of the parties next 
August is another question. Many of the people in this State 
are very fickle and credulous, and much can be done by designing 
and unprincipled partisans, and that everything which can pos- 
sibly be done will be done, we cannot but infer from the extra- 
ordinary and unwarrantable measures resorted to last winter in 
the Legislature in getting up the question, and the great anxiety 
evinced, and exertions which have been made and are still making 
to prevail on the people to sanction it. But as the friends of free- 
dom are aware of this, they will watch the movements of their 
opponents, and be on the alert to counteract their intrigues and 
machinations. The object for which a convention is wanted is so 
justly odious, and the conduct of the friends of the measure so 
disgraceful, that I cannot bring myself to believe they will succeed. 
But I regret to state that the advocates of Slavery in this State 
are gaining strength, from the indiscretion of the advocates of 



132 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

freedom out of the State. Certain leading newspapers in the 
Atlantic cities have taken a stand, and held language which is 
used here in a way calculated to do much mischief. Whether we 
have the constitutional right to make this a slave-holding state, 
or not, or whether the opponents of the extension of slavery, here 
or elsewhere, may think proper hereafter to call for the inter- 
position of the Federal Gov't to restrain the people of this State, 
it is certainly bad policy at this time very strongly to urge it, and 
especially in what may be considered dictatorial language; as it is 
of all other questions the best calculated to arouse the feelings of 
State pride, and State rights, and that natural love of unrestrained 
liberty and independence which is common to our countrymen, 
and especially to our frontier settlers, who of all men in the world 
have the strongest jealousy of authority and aversion to restraint. 

I wish, my friend, you would use your influence to prevail on 
the newspaper writers to let this question alone for the present. 
If they are sincere in their opposition to the further extension of 
Slavery, they will not prematurely urge it, when they are assured 
that by so doing they can do no good, but much harm. 

I shall go to St. Louis in a day or two, when I hope to have 
the pleasure of seeing and congratulating your brother on his late 
marriage, and becoming acquainted with his lady. This has been 
the most cool and agreeable, and by far the most healthful summer 
I have ever seen in this country. The spring was too wet and 
we were apprehensive of an unfavorable season both for health 
and vegetation, but we have been most agreeably disappointed. 
My health was never better. I beg you to present my kind regards 
to Mrs. B. and to Mr. Craig, and to be assured of my sincere 
regard. 

Edward Coles. 



Nicholas Biddle, Esq., 

President of the bank of the U. S. — Philadelphia. 
P.S. — Could you or Mr. Vaux furnish me with an assessment 
of lands in the different counties of Pennsylvania? I want to 
show that lands are higher in price in free than slave States. 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 133 

Governor Coles to Roberts Faux. 

Vandalia, Illinois, December ii, 1823. 

Esteemed Friend: — I received some time since your letter of 
the nth of Oct., and by the last mail yours of the 4th Ulto. An 
unusual press of public business prevented my sooner acknowl- 
edging the former, and will now prevent my making as long an 
answer to the two as I desire. For the last four weeks there has 
been a great crowd of persons here, attending the Circuit and 
Supreme Court of the State, and the U. S. and District Court and 
the sale at auction for taxes of about 7,000 tracts of land, belong- 
ing to non-resident proprietors. This has necessarily given me 
much to do; but it has at the same time afforded me an excellent 
opportunity of collecting the sense of the people on the great 
question which is now agitating the State. And I am happy in 
assuring you, from the best information I have been able to collect 
from all parts of the State, I am more confirmed in my belief that 
a majority of the people will be opposed to calling a convention 
for the purpose of altering the Constitution so as to make this a 
slave-holding State. But the extraordinary efforts that have 
been made here during the last three or four weeks by the friends 
of Slavery, in organizing their party, and enabling its leaders to 
act with the most concert and effect, convince the friends of free- 
dom that their opponents are yet in the field, and that they should 
be on the alert, for fear by some ruse de guerre^ at which their 
opponents are known from sad experience to be great adepts, the 
advocates of oppression should triumph. Nearly all the leading 
friends of a convention have been assembled here, and held cau- 
cuses for the purpose of deliberating upon the best means of pro- 
moting the success of their favorite measure; have adopted sundry 
resolutions, and made many arrangements; among others have 
appointed committees for each county in the State, and requested 
that the county committees appoint a committee in each town- 
ship for the purpose of corresponding with each other, and of influ- 
encing by every possible means the public opinion. 

With respect to your inquiry whether there is not some more 
expeditious and safe mode of sending out the pamphlets than 
through a commercial house at St. Louis, I can think of no other. 



134 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

except to forward them, as pamphlets, by mail to me to this place, 
which is at this season of the year slow and precarious. 

The pamphlet you forwarded me by mail, along with your 
last letter, I received safe; but have been so busy as not yet to 
have had time to read it. Two thousand of each kind, will, I 
presume, be enough, and as many as I shall be able conveniently 
to distribute. There will be for the next six months, so few per- 
sons visiting this place, that I shall be compelled to rely chiefly 
on the mails, as the means of distributing pamphlets, or other 
information to the public. If possible, I intend to have all the 
pamphlets published in one or more of our weekly newspapers. 

Accompanying this I send you a pamphlet, which has been 
lately published by my old friend Birkbeck, which is by far the 
best publication which has been yet given to the public. After 
you have perused it, you will confer a favor on me to loan it for 
the perusal of our mutual friend Biddle, to whom I beg you to 
present my kind regards. 

With great respect and sincere regards, your friend, 

Edward Coles. 
To Roberts Vaux, 

Philadelphia. 

We have had the misfortune (two days since) to lose our 
State House by fire. This accident will operate in favor of a con- 
vention. Many profess to be opposed to Slavery, but in favor of 
a convention to remove the seat of Government. There is now 
of course less inducement for keeping it here, I still, however, 
hope and believe we shall have no convention. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Increasing Excitement on the Convention Question; Oppo- 
sition MORE Intense; General Willis Hargrave; Secret 
Organization of the Convention Party; Exposed bv a 
Hand-Bill; Newspapers intheState;Rencontre between 
Smith and Warren at Edwardsville; Leaders in the 
Contest on Both Sides; Labors and Activity of the 
Anti-Convention Men, Governor Coles, Rev. John A. 
Peck, Morris Birkbeck; Notice of Birkbeck; His Ability 
as a Writer; His Services to the Anti-Convention 
Cause; Correspondence between Coles and Birkbeck. 

With the advent of the year 1824, the excitement 
on the Convention question increased. The more the 
question of making lUinois a slave State was discussed 
in all its various phases, the more intense the opposition 
became. As this opposition increased, the efforts of the 
Convention party were redoubled. On the 6th of 
December, 1823, the ''Friends of a Convention,' from 
all parts of the State, held a meeting at Vandalia, for 
the purpose of instituting a more perfect organization, of 
which General Willis Hargrave, the official Inspector 
of the Gallatin Saline, was the chairman. General 
Hargrave was a member of the House of Representa- 
tives from White county, in the Territorial Legislature, 
in the sessions of 18 17-18, and a member of the first 
Senate of the State in 1818-22, and was one of the bold- 
est and most outspoken advocates for a convention in 
the State; while others temporized and hesitated, he 
openly advocated making Illinois a Slave State. At 
this meeting committees were appointed, composed of 
the most efficient pro-Slavery men, for every county, 
but whose names were not made public. These com- 

135 



136 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

mittees were to appoint township committees for the 
purpose of a more complete organization. This action 
of the Convention men becoming known, was met by 
the Anti-Convention men by a hand-bill, circulated 
over the State, in the early part of 1824, a copy of 
which is given as showing a somewhat ludicrous side 
of the contest: 

''By Authority I 

Whereas, certain evil disposed persons did, in the month 
of December last, assemble at Vandalia, and enter into a com- 
bination to control the freedom of election enjoyed by right by 
the good people of this State, in order to exclude from public 
service all citizens who are not of the Convention party, however 
suitable and well qualified they may be to promote the public 
interest; and for that purpose did presume to appoint certain 
secret committees of five of the said party in every county, who 
were to appoint sub-committees of three for every precinct, for 
carrying into eflfect the scheme as above mentioned; and, whereas, 
the first Monday of August next is set for the trial of the authors 
and abettors of the said conspiracy against the sovereignty of the 
people, all good citizens are hereby required for the furtherance 
of political justice, to find out and detect, as far as in them lies, 
these county and township co7mnittee men, and to publish their 
proceedings in such manner as shall most eflPectually bring to light 
their underhand transactions. All newspapers that are friendly 
to freedom and independence are desired to give this notice a 
conspicuous place. 



January, 1824. 



Pro Bono Publico. 



During this contest on the Convention question, 
there were but five weekly papers published in the 
State. Two of these were anti-Convention before the 
close of the contest; of them the "Illinois Intelligencer,' ' 
published at Vandalia, the seat of Government, might 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 137 

be considered the leading one. It was at first a Con- 
vention paper, but was subsequently purchased by 
Governor Coles and other anti-Convention men, and 
placed under the editorial management of David Black- 
well, a prominent lawyer of his time and Secretary of 
State under Governor Coles. The second was "The 
Spectator,' ' at Edwardsville, edited by Hooper Warren. 
The first of th^se papers was not rallied to the anti- 
Convention cause till the contest was somewhat 
advanced. The Edwardsville Spectator was anti-Con- 
vention from the beginning, though its editor. Hooper 
Warren, was not friendly to Governor Coles, and had 
opposed him in his election. The three papers advocat- 
ing the Convention were the ' 'Republican Advocate,' ' 
at Kaskaskia, managed by Elias Kent Kane, after- 
wards U. S. Senator, Thomas Reynolds, subsequently 
Governor of Missouri, ex-Governor Bond and others, 
the * 'Illinois Gazette," at Shawneetown, and the 
Edwardsville paper, ' 'The Republican,' ' under the 
direction of Judge Theo. W. Smith, Emanuel J. West, 
Judge Samuel McRoberts, afterwards U. S. Senator, 
and others. 

The controversy between the two papers in Ed- 
wardsville, representing Convention and anti-Conven- 
tion, was waged with great violence. State Senator 
Theophilus W. Smith, afterwards Judge of the Supreme 
Court, editor of the Convention paper, undertook to 
cowhide Hooper Warren, editor of the anti-Convention 
paper. Failing in his purpose he drew a dirk on him. 
Warren then pulled out his pistol, when the combat- 
ants were separated and "nobody hurt." 

As before stated, the ablest, most prominent and 



138 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

most influential men of the State were champions of 
the Convention; among them, were ex-Governor Bond 
and six gentlemen who afterwards became United 
States Senators; Jesse B. Thomas, John McLean, Elias 
Kent Kane, John M. Robinson, Samuel McRoberts and 
Richard M. Young; there were also, Chief Justice 
Phillips, of the Supreme Court, Wm. Kinney and 
Zadoc Casey, subsequently Lieut. Governors of the 
State, Colonel Alexander P. Field, Joseph A. Beaird, 
General Willis Hargrave, Emanuel J. West, Lieutenant- 
Governor Hubbard, John Reynolds, Justice of the 
Supreme Court, Thomas Reynolds, and others. 

On the anti-Convention side, a great cause produced 
earnest and efi^ective leaders. At their head was Gov- 
ernor Coles, entering heart and soul into the contest, 
carrying on an extensive correspondence with the anti- 
Convention men in all parts of the State, organizing 
opposition everywhere and wielding his facile and 
powerful pen in the newspapers. He not only expended 
his whole salary in the cause but contributed largely 
from his private means. But the man who accom- 
plished most against the Convention by personal exer- 
tion and by untiring work was the Rev. John M. Peck, 
of St. Clair county. . Mr. Peck was a Baptist minister 
who emigrated to the West from Connecticut in 1817, 
and located in St. Clair county in 1821. He was a man 
of excellent education, of a strong and comprehensive 
mind and with an energy and perseverance rarely 
surpassed. The attempt to make the State of his 
adoption a slave State awakened in him the most in- 
tense feeling of opposition. Endowed with a strong 
constitution and great physical strength, he entered 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 139 

into a personal canvass against the Convention scheme 
and labored assiduously, in season and out of season, 
during the long campaign. He organized a society in 
St. Clair immediately after the passage of the Conven- 
tion Resolution which adopted a constitution to resist 
the introduction of slavery into Illinois. Establishing 
his headquarters in St. Clair county, he extended his 
organization to fourteen other counties, establishing 
societies in each to act in unison with the parent society 
in St. Clair.* This organization, perfected and kept up 
by the exertions of Mr. Peck, was productive of great 
results to the anti-Convention cause. It was with the 
religious element of the community and with the clergy 
that he most labored. Uniting the establishment of 
Sunday schools and temperance societies with the dis- 
tribution of the Bible, he preached a crusade against 
slavery wherever he went. It may be said to the 
eternal honor of the clergy of Illinois at that day, that 
they were almost without exception, opposed to the 
Convention, and that they exercised great influence in 
securing the rejection of the Convention Resolution at 
the polls. The prevailing denominations in the State 
at that time were the Methodists and Baptists, and most 
of the preachers were from the slave States. 

Next to Governor Coles and the Rev. Mr. Peck, 
the man who did the most in forming public opinion 
against the convention was Morris Birkbeck, of 
Edwards county. The active part which Mr. Birkbeck 
took in the great struggle, and the inestimable services 
he rendered to the State in that vital epoch, are such 
as to entitle him to the gratitude of the people of Illi- 
nois. Today, little is known of him or his works, and 

*"My Own Times," by John Reynolds. 



140 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

it is fitting that his name should be rescued from obliv- 
ion, and justice done to his memory. Edwards county 
could not do a more appropriate act than to erect a 
monument to his memory. 

Morris Birkbeck was born in Wanborough, Eng- 
land, in 1763. Receiving a most thorough classical 
education, he devoted himself to the study of agricul- 
ture. He soon came to enjoy a widespread celebrity as 
being one of the first practical as well as theoretical 
farmers in the kingdom.* Making the acquaintance 
of many Americans in England, and among them Mr. 
Coles, when he was abroad in 18 16, he came to the 
determination to emigrate to the United States, to use 
his own language, "in quest of a new settlement in the 
western wilderness." This settlement was made in the 
fall of 1 8 17 in Edwards county, and it soon became 
known as the *' English settlement."! 

Though Albion was the county seat, Mr. Birkbeck 
located adjoining thereto, and built up a town which he 
named Wanborough, after his native town in England. 
It was here that he was living when the Convention 
struggle broke out. Surrounded by his family, in 
companionship with his large and valuable library 
which he had brought with him from England, and over- 
looking the improvement of his settlement, he enlisted 
heartily in the anti-Convention cause as soon as the 
Convention Resolution had passed the Legislature. 
His son-in-law, Gilbert T. Pell, was a member of the 
lower branch of this Legislature, and strongly opposed 

*Mr. Birkbeck was made the first president of the Illinois State Agricultural 
Society, 

tGovernor Reynolds says that ' 'Mr. Birkbeck was the first literary man who 
settled in Illinois, and he had deservedly considerable reputation as a man of 
letters.' ' 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 141 

the "call." Before this time, in his published "Letters 
from Illinois," Mr. Birkbeck had made known his views 
on slavery. In a letter dated July 2,8, 1818, written to 
a friend in France, he says: 

"In passing from theory to practice, I have exper- 
ienced no diminution of my love for freedom; but I 
hate tyranny more cordially, and I want language to 
express the loathing I feel for personal slavery; prac- 
ticed by freemen it is most detestable. It is the leprosy 
of the United States; a foul blotch which more or less 
contaminates the entire system, in public and in private, 
from the President's chair to the cabin of the hunter."* 

The acquaintance of Governor Coles and Mr. Birk- 
beck made in England in 18 16, ripened into a warm 
friendship after they both became citizens of Illinois. 
They were in complete sympathy on the slavery ques- 
tion generally, but the Convention struggle brought 
them still nearer together. The correspondence be- 
tween them cannot fail to interest all who have followed 
the progress of the great struggle of that day. 

Morris Birkbeck to Governor Coles. 

Wanborough, March i, 1823. 
My Dear Sir: — I have quite lost sight of St. Domingo. 
Clouds and darkness seem to overhang our own State too heavily 
to allow of my looking beyond it. Very glad, indeed, should I be, 
could I hope to do anything, however little, to dispel them. The 
poor remainder of my life I would gladly devote to this cause. I 
am exceedingly desirous of seeing you to confer with you about 
our affairs. The disgusting scenes at Vandalia, occasioned by the 
unprincipled intrigues of the Slave party would afford a fine scope 
for the enemies of political freedom, to declaim against a repre- 
sentative Government; whereas, in truth, it is the only guard 

*"Letters from Illinois, by Morris Birkbeck," author of "Notes on a Tour 
through France" and of "Notes on a Journey in America." 



142 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

against the tyranny of such persons. If the people are absolutely 
corrupt and without principle, such men will gain their object 
under any system. Nothing is so destructive of moral character 
as Slavery; of this the transactions of our Legislature are a fresh 
illustration. Day and night this miserable subject is before me. 
I foresee that, if I live till next year, I must attempt, with my pen, 
my only weapon, to do something; and have already written a 
short address to be published, if you and our other friends approve 
of it, a little before the election, or at the time when you may 
think it best. Having done this I am something more at ease. 
I wish I could prevail with you to come here and stay. You 
can't live at Vandalia. Edwardsville, I fancy, is not very healthy. 
I won't insure you here; but I have a right to give you good hopes 
of escaping the summer complaints at our place. I have room 
plenty, in house and heart, to accom.modate you in a plain way. 
Your political influence would, I think, be promoted by your 
spending a good part of the year on this side of the State; and to 
extend and strengthen that influence is, at this time, your imperi- 
ous duty. You shall have the library to yourself to retire to when 
you please, and be as independent and welcome as a sincere friend 
can make you. It gives me great pleasure to find that Mr. Pell 
was what I expected of him in his political commencement. His 
being thrown so advantageously into the same berth with your- 
self will tend to confirm his character. It is a consolation to me 
that one so near me has so much good principle and discretion. 
I shall expect a few lines from you soon and often (I don't ask 
you for long elaborate epistles) until I may hope for the pleasure 
of receiving you here. My plan on that head is certainly a good 
one. I entreat you to fall in with it without hesitation. Excuse 
this scrawl from your sincere friend, 

M. BiRKBECK. 

Sunday Morning. Mr. Pell informs me that you will be 
engaged this summer on the western side of the State, reviewing 
militia, and that I must not hope to see much of you. Perhaps 
you may have time and inclination to pay us a visit before you 
take the field. If a correspondence could be set on foot among 
the friends of freedom scattered over the State, they might 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 143 

strengthen and inform each other, and the influence of good feel- 
ing might be increased. I would gladly bear a part in it. Is 
land higher in Missouri than in this State, or more saleable? or 
in Kentucky, caeteris paribus , than in Ohio? The Missourians 
and Kentuckians have felt the adversity of the times equally with 
ourselves, it may be presumed — from their having played the 
same game of Legislation about Currency and Stay laws. The 
supposed advance in the price of land from the admission of 
Slavery, appears to be the grand temptation with our people. 
If this opinion be ill founded, as I believe it is, I wish the case 
could be clearly and simply stated. I knov) that very many 
respectable farmers in England are looking to this State as a 
refuge when they can clear out of their farms, but not one in a 
hundred would settle in a Slave State; and a great part of those 
from that country who are now here would fly from it. 

It is essential to impress on the minds of our citizens, two 
things, in regard to the present crisis. One is the infamy of the 
proceedings of the Slave faction at Vandalia; this I have attempted 
to point out, with its consequences, if sanctioned by the people, 
in the paper I have alluded to above, and which I wish to submit 
to your inspection;'' that if you approve of it you may judge of the 
best time and manner of giving it circulation among the electors. 
The other is the impolicy of Slavery — for this purpose, tho' the 
fact is demonstrable from the nature of things, I want particular 
statements founded on experience, derived from authentic sources. 
If you give your attention to the subject you may direct my in- 
quiries into a proper channel. Is there any enlightened individual 
in the State of Ohio, or any where else, with whom I could open 
a correspondence for this purpose? Any publications by citizens 
of the United States? Has not Mr. Jeff^erson written on Slavery? 
To Governor Coles, 
Edwardsville, 

Illinois. 

Governor Coles to Morris Birkbeck. 

Vandalia, April 12th, 1823. 

Dear Sir: — I rec'd a few days since, via Edwardsville, your 

'Published July, 1823, as An Appeal to the People of Illinois on the Question 
of a Convention, 



144 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

kind and acceptable letter of the 1st ulto. I am much gratified 
to find you have abandoned all idea of a tour for the present; and 
that your feelings are warmly enlisted in the great question on 
which hangs our destiny. Feeling as you do on this subject, 
with a mind so discriminating and so well stored with information, 
and gifted with a peculiarly happy talent of expressing your 
ideas in a plain and forcible style, I know of no man in the State 
who could be of more service than yourself in enlightening the 
people and giving them correct views of the moral and political 
character of the question, as well as of its immediate bearing upon 
their present interests and future welfare. As the opposite party 
will keep up an incessant effort through the press to make converts 
to the Convention, our side of the question will have to follow 
their example, not only for the purpose of correcting their mis- 
representations and refuting their arguments, but from time to 
time to present correct views of the real objects, and injurious 
effects resulting from a Convention. The great interest the peo- 
ple take, the extraordinary anxiety they feel, either for or against 
the Convention, forces its consideration on the community, and 
already we find in every assemblage, however small, it is a subject 
of discussion, and that the people are daily making up their minds 
and committing themselves by taking sides. Whilst this is going 
on we ought not to lay on our arms, and let the enemy under- 
mine the feelings and judgment of the people, and thus sap the 
foundations of our strength. Considerable effort has been made 
by both parties to procure the support of the different printing 
presses in the State. The Slave party will have the support of 
the press of this place, at Shawneetown, and one of the two presses 
established at Edwardsville; the other espouses the cause of free- 
dom. The editors here, however, though avowedly and decidedly 
in favor of a Convention, declare their willingness to admit pieces 
into their papers both for and against it. It is not known posi- 
tively what side the press at Kaskaskia will take; but I am dis- 
posed to think it will be on our side. The friends of freedom 
being thus situated, is it not desirable, nay necessary, for the 
success of their holy cause, to have a press established on the 
eastern side of the State. It appears to me that Albion, as well 
from its local situation, as from the means in and about it, both 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 145 

mental and pecuniary, would render it the most eligible place for 
such an establishment. I mentioned this subject last winter 
to Mr. Pell, to whom I refer you for the reasons and views which 
induced me to suggest the propriety of it. I have just written 
to Mr. R. Flower, to whom I have also taken the liberty to suggest 
it, and a still further liberty to ask it as a favor to me and as a 
sacrifice calculated to promote the success of the great cause in 
which we, and I trust, a great majority of Edwards county, are 
also deeply interested, to bury, at least during the pendency of 
the question, all personal, national, local, and other unkind feel- 
ings, and unite heart and hand to promote the good cause. 

I am extremely sorry not to have it in my power to answer 
satisfactorily your enquiries. Altho' the fact is notorious, lands 
are always higher in price in non-slave-holding-States than in 
slave-holding-States, yet I cannot refer to any authentic statistical 
or other publication, pointing out the fact in detail. I know the 
fact to be so from my own personal observation and enquiries, 
made while traveling through the different sections of the Union, 
and especially along the Atlantic seaboard, where the general 
face of the country brightens, and the cultivation and value of 
the soil increases, with the accession of free labor. This could 
at once be made satisfactorily to appear if we could lay our hands 
on the assessments of lands for taxation made in the several 
States. In my native State (Va.), if I mistake not, the assess- 
ment of lands of the different counties, made by the general 
board of assessors, go to establish the fact in general that the 
lands bear the highest price in the counties where there were 
fewest slaves in proportion to the white population. It is true, 
in the year 1818 the Gov't sold lands higher in Missouri than it 
has ever done in this State; but this arose from peculiar circum- 
stances, which circumstances I have no doubt would have made 
similar lands sell as high in this State. As a proof of it, lands are 
now no higher in that State than in this — and the "hard times," 
as they are emphatically called, have been as sensibly felt there 
as here. Fictitious banks, the political locusts which have 
devoured the fruits of the land, have been more encouraged, and 
of course the hard times have been much more detrimental to 
Kentucky and Ohio than to Missouri and this State. But in this 



146 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Slavery has had no hand, but it has been the chief and only cause 
why Ohio, with a colder climate and much less fertile soil and many 
years the junior of Kentucky, has far outstripped her in population 
and in wealth. With respect to the relative value of land in Ohio 
and Kentucky, since the currency of those States has been so 
deranged, I have no particular information; but I feel very certain 
that the land still continues much higher generally in the former 
than in the latter State. 

With respect to your inquiry as to the best source of infor- 
mation, founded on experience collected in this country of the 
effects of Slavery, I can give you but little information, as, in 
truth, but little has been written on the subject. I know of no 
one who has touched so feelingly and forcibly on the moral and 
political character of Slavery as Mr. Jefferson in his "Notes on 
Va." If you could lay your hands on the. debates on the "Mis- 
souri question" in Congress, you would be able to collect many 
interesting facts. I shall probably have it in my power to send 
you one or two of the best of these speeches. There is a news- 
paper printed monthly at Greenville, in Green county, Tennessee, 
by a Quaker of the name of Ben. Lundy, called the "Genius of 
Universal Emancipation," the columns of which are exclusively 
devoted to the subject of African Slavery as it exists in the U. S. 
I have seen but 2 or 3 numbers of this paper, in each of which there 
was something more or less valuable on this subject. I have 
determined to subscribe for it, and shall endeavor to prevail on 
the editor to furnish me with a regular file of his paper since its 
commencement, which I believe was about 2 or 3 years ago. If 
this paper has been well edited it ought to contain the substance 
of everything interesting on this subject. Soon after the adjourn- 
ment of the Legislature, I was compelled by business to go to 
Edwardsville and Belleville, where happening to be during the 
sitting of the Court, I had it in my power to .see many of the 
people, and was much gratified to find the counties of Madison 
and St. Clair as much opposed to the call of a Convention as I 
had imagined them to have been. The people in those counties 
received and treated me with great kindness, insisting upon my 
giving them an opportunity of evincing publicly their approbation 
of my public conduct, etc., etc., by inviting me to partake of a 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 147 

public dinner, at which many attended, proving by their conduct 
that they were not only the friends oi freedom but of order. 

I owe you a thousand apologies, my dear friend, for your 
very, very kind invitation to visit and spend some time with you. 
You know what pleasure it would afford me, and will therefore 
know if I should not visit you soon that it will not be my fault. 
I do not now know when it will be in my power to visit you, but 
I fear it will not be very sqon; as soon, however, as it is in my 
power you may expect to see me. 

I beg you to let Mr. Pell see this letter, for whom it is intended 
in part. My respects to him and Lady, as well as to all the mem- 
bers of your family, including Mr. and Mrs. Hanks. You will 
pardon me for writing so long a letter, to which I have been 
prompted by the deep interest I feel in the great question, and the 
pleasure I find in holding converse with you. 

Your friend, 

Edward Coles. 
To Morris Birkbeck, 

Wanborough, Edwards County, 
Illinois. 

Morris Birkbeck to Governor Coles. 

r 

Wanborough, Dec. 6, 1823. 
Dear Sir:—*' ****** j ^^j^^ ^.j^^ liberty by this 
mail to send you half a dozen; and if, on reading a copy, you 
should think it may be useful to any of the unconverted Con- 
ventionists, you may put it in their way. I am glad you think 
favorably of the course the question is taking. I believe the ad- 
vocates of a Convention are not so numerous as they have been 
on this side of the State. The leaders do not seem to be so san- 
guine. This may, however, be a ruse de guerre preparatory to a 
grand push in the spring. I am rejoiced that you have escaped 
from sickness this summer. My family has enjoyed excellent 
health, and the neighborhood — as heretofore. We should be glad 
to see you amongst us; and a friendly visit from you wouldfgive 
me peculiar pleasure. I have not seen Mr. Pell since the morning. 



148 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

when I received your letter. I shall deliver your message to him, 
and I beg you to believe me your sincere friend, 

M. BiRKBECK. 

To Governor Coles, 
Vandalia. 

Governor Coles to Morris Birkbeck. 

Vandalia, January 29, 1824. 

My Dear Sir: — I had the pleasure to receive, in due course 
of mail, your letter of the 6th ulto., together with six of your 
pamphlets, which you were so good as to send me, for which I 
return you my thanks. I had previously seen republished in a 
newspaper your pamphlet, and had read it with great pleasure. 
I could not but wish every Conventionist in the State had it and 
was compelled to read it with attention. Our society at Edwards - 
ville intends having another and large edition of it reprinted fur 
the purpose of having it extensively circulated. I took the 
liberty to send one or two of your pamphlets to some distant and 
particular friends, who take a deep interest in the Slave question 
in this State. By the by, should not the review of your pamphlet, 
which appeared first in the Illinois Gazette, and since republished 
in all the Convention papers of the State, be noticed.^ It is very 
ingeniously written, but what more particularly requires correc- 
tion is the fabrications and misrepresentations of facts. One or 
two of these were hastily noticed and sent to be inserted last 
week in the paper published here; but no paper has since issued 
from the press. 

During the setting of the Courts, and the sale of the lands of 
non-residents for taxes, we had a considerable number of persons 
assembled here from almost every part of the State; and a pretty 
good opportunity was afforded of collecting the public sentiment 
in relation to the great question which is now convulsing the State. 
The friends of a Convention pretended to be pleased; but it was 
very apparent they were not; and the more honest and liberal 
among them acknowledged that they thought their prospects bad. 
Our friends on the other hand were much pleased, and rendered 
much more sanguine of success from the information they received. 
The friends of Slavery, however, were caucusing nearly every 



fVASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 149 

night, and made many arrangements for their electioneering 
campaign. Among others, it is said, they have appointed five 
persons in each county, with a request that these five appoint 
three in each election precinct, for the purpose of diffusing their 
doctrines, embodying their forces, and acting with the greatest 
concert and effect. This is well calculated to bring their strength 
to bear in the best possible manner, and should, as far as possible, 
be counteracted. When bad men conspire, good men should be 
watchful. 

The friends of a Convention appear to become more and 
more bitter and virulent in their enmity to me, and seem deter- 
mined not only to injure my standing with the people, but to 
break down my pecuniary resources. A suit has been lately 
instituted at Edwardsville against me for the recovery of the sum 
of $200 for each negro emancipated by me and brought to this 
State. The suit has been brought under a law passed on the 
30th of March, 18 19, but which was not printed or promulgated 
until the October following. In the meantime, that is about the 
first week of May, my negroes emigrated to and settled in this 
State. What is truly farcical in this suit is, that a poor worthless 
fellow, who has no property, and of course pays no tax, has been 
selected to institute it, from the fear he has of being taxed to 
support the negroes I emancipated, when they, who are all young 
and healthy, are so prosperous as to possess comfortable livings 
and some of them pay as much as four dollars a year tax on their 
property. I should indeed, my friend, be unfortunate were I 
now compelled to pay $200 for each of my negroes, big and little, 
dead and living (for the suit goes to this) after the sacrifices I have 
made, and my efforts to befriend and enable them to live comfort- 
ably. For I not only emancipated all my negroes, which amounted 
to one-third of all the property my father bequeathed me, but I 
removed them out here at an expense of between five and six 
hundred dollars, and then gave each head of a family, and all 
others who had passed the age of 24, one hundred and sixty acres 
of land each, and exerted myself to prevail on them to be honest, 
industrious and correct in their conduct. This they have done 
in a remarkable degree, so much so, with all the prejudice against 
free negroes, there never has been the least ground for charge or 



150 ILLIhOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

censure against any one of them. And now, for the first time in 
my life, to be sued for what I thought was generous and praise- 
worthy conduct, creates strange feelings, which, however, cease 
to give me personal mortification, when I reflect on the character 
and motives of those who have instituted it.^ 

Just about the time this suit was instituted, I had the mis- 
fortune to lose by fire two-thirds of all the buildings and enclosures 
on my farm, together with about 200 apple trees and as many 
peach trees — several of each kind large enough to bear fruit. 
And soon after, the "State House" having been consumed by 
fire, a project was set on foot to rebuild it by subscription. Not 
liking the plan and arrangements, I declined subscribing, and 
proposed others, which I thought would be more for the interest 
of the State, of the county, and of the town — and which by the 
way are now generally admitted would have been best. This 
however was immediately laid hold of by some of the factious 
Conventionists who being aware that the loss of the State House 
would operate to the injury of their favorite measure in this county y 
and being anxious to display great solicitude for the interest of the 
people here, and that, too, as much as possible at the expense of 
the anti-Conventionists, they busied themselves in misrepresent- 
ing to the multitude my reasons and motives for not subscribing 
my name to their paper, and with the aid of large potions of 
whiskey, contrived to get up a real vandal mob, who vented their 
spleen against me, in the most noisy and riotous manner, nearly 
all night, for my opposition to a convention and for my refusal, 
as they termed it, to rebuild the State House. All this and other 
instances of defamation and persecution, create in my bosom 
opposite feelings; one of pain, the other of pleasure. Pain to see 
my fellow man so ill-natured and vindictive merely because I am 
the friend of my species, and am opposed to one portion oppressing 
another — pleasure that I should be in a situation which enables 
me to render services to the just and good cause in which we are 
engaged; and so far from repining at these indignities and per- 
secutions, I am thankful to Providence for placing me in the van 
of this eventful contest, and giving me a temper, zeal, and reso- 
lution which I trust will enable me to bear with proper fortitude 

*See appendix for record of suit. 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 151 

the peltings which are inseparable from it. In conclusion, I pray 
you to do me the justice to believe, that no dread of personal 
consequences will ever abate my efforts to promote the good of 
the public, much less to abandon the great fundamental principles 
of civil and personal liberty — and to be assured of my sincere 
friendship. 

Edward Coles. 
Morris Birkbeck, Esq., 

Wanborough, Edwards County. 

Mr. Birkbeck to Governor Coles. 

Wanborough. Feb. 19, 1824. 

My Dear Sir: — I have just received your letter of January 
29, and I assure you the receiving it has given me unfeigned pleas- 
ure, although its contents, as far as the unworthy conduct of the 
party is productive of vexation to you, I as sincerely lament. I 
am sorry that it should be at your expense; but as it tends to 
expose the badness of the cause and the iniquity of its supporters, 
the friends of liberty and virtue can hardly regret that they 
should have thus displayed their true character. 

For myself, my private situation screens me in great measure 
from persecution, though I presume, not from the honor of their 
hatred. I am glad you approve my little pamphlet; if I could 
afford it, I would spare the society at Edwardsville the expense of 
republishing, &c. I have the satisfaction of knowing that it has 
done som.e good, by changing the sentiments of several, who 
through want of reflection or knowledge, had been advocates of 
Slavery. And as there are many up and down in all parts of the 
State, who are in that situation, I trust its general circulation will 
be useful. I am continually plying the Slave party, through the 
Illinois Gazette, with popular discussions and sometimes with 
legal arguments, under the signature of Jonathan Freeman, and 
some others. You will see, if you read that paper, an ironical 
proposal of a plan for raising a fund to colonize the negroes as an 
appendage to limited Slavery, signed J., which I think may show 
the absurdity of that plan of the Conventionists more eflFectually 
than serious argument. The Edwardsville Spectator published 
about a dozen of those short letters, and I suppose you will see a 



152 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

few more of them shortly. As they present the question in 
various lights, pointing out the wickedness and folly of the Slave 
scheme, dissected as it were into distinct portions, I imagine they 
make an impression on some readers more effectually than a 
continued course of argument. I submit, with great deference, 
a thought that some of these would be useful if republished by 
way of appendix to the Appeal. Perhaps you will revert to them, 
and notice a few more which you will soon see; then do as you see 
good. 

As publication is essential to the binding power of a law, in 
fact to its existence as laWy you will of course defeat your perse- 
cutors, and put them to shame, on the principle of ex post facto. 
You could not infringe in May a law promulgated in October 
following. 

The fire at Vandalia is rather against the Conventionists in 
that quarter. The idea of re-building the State House by sub- 
scription, you, as Governor, could hardly countenance. What 
authority have individuals to act in this case, even at their own 
expense? And what claim have they on your private purse? I 
am only sorry for your personal vexation under these attacks. 
They discover the weakness and folly of the party, and I am in 
hopes they are losing ground. They have great zeal and activity 
and no delicacy about the means; there is considerable zeal, too, 
and activity on our side; and setting the good principles of our 
cause against their total want of principle, I trust we are a match 
for them, provided we do not relax in our efforts. The attack on 
my pamphlet by Americanus, (who is Mr. Webb, of Bonpas,) 
seems to be ridiculed and despised, even by their own side. I have 
sent to the Illinois Gazette a short reply to the personalities; 
further I thought needless, and have just written another to the 
same effect, which I shall send to the Vandalia paper. Not being 
presumed to know the author, some severity of retort seems 
allowable. 

You have a circle at Vandalia chiefly, I fear, of the wrong 
sort in regard to the vital question, which circumstance must 
detract from your social enjoyment, where at best it could ill be 
spared. The cause on which you are engaged so heartily is so 
thoroughly good that it will bear you up through many sacrifices 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 153 

and privations. Your sentiments on the subject rejoice and en- 
courage me, and in return (pedantry as it may seem) I shall give 
you a sentiment from Horace for _yo«r encouragement.* 

Justum et tenacem propositi virum, 
Non civium ardor prava jubentium, 
Non vultus instantis tyranni, 
Mente quatit solida. 

I remain, with great esteem, yours, 

M. BiRKBECK. 



Of the many others who took an active part against 
the Convention, there were David Blackwell, Judge 
Samuel D. Lockwood, Hooper Warren, Jonathan H. 
Pugh, George Forquer, Daniel P. Cook, Thomas Lip- 
pencott, George Churchill, Thomas Mather and Henry 
Eddy.^ 

Mr. Birkbeck wrote a series of letters during the 
Convention canvass, over the nom de plume of "Jona- 
than Freeman,' ' which were widely published and 
almost universally read. They were written in a plain 
but captivating style, full of facts and arguments, and 
embellished by homely but apt illustrations. They 
proved a source of great annoyance to the Convention 
party, and as he was known to be the author, he was 
most bitterly assailed. He was denounced as a ' 'foreign 
emissary," and an "exile," sneered at as a "Quaker," 
and charged with being an "Infidel." But it was all 
to no purpose. The more he was attacked, the more 
were his letters read. Speaking of these letters in his 

*The last paragraph of Mr. Birkbeck's letter cannot but excite admiration. 
The quotation from Horace applied with great force to the case of Governor 
Coles: 

' 'Neither the ardor of citizens ordering base things, nor the face of the threat- 
ening tyrant shakes a man just and tenacious of principle from his firm intentions." 

"Henry Eddy was in favor of a convention, although his paper, the Illinois 
Gazette, admitted articles on both sides. See Pease, The Frontier State, 73, 82. 



154 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

manuscript history of Edwards county, Mr. George 
Flower well says: 

"Whatever may be thought of Mr. Birkbeck, by 
those who would square every man's opinion by their 
own, the inhabitants of the State Illinois, if for nothing 
else, should hold his memory in respect and gratitude 
for the decided part he took against the introduction of 
Slavery in his letters of 'Jonathan Freeman.' " 



CHAPTER XV. 

The Election Takes Place; Vote of Counties for and 

AGAINST the CONVENTION RESOLUTION; CoPY OF A CONVEN- 
TION Ballot; Convention Scheme Defeated by More 
THAN Eighteen Hundred Majority; Convention Men 
Defeated, but they Rally under the Banner of Jack- 
son; Get Control of the State; Pro-Slavery Men 
Elected United States Senators; Birkbeck Appointed 
Secretary of State vice Blackwell; Birkbeck Rejected 
BY THE Senate; Death of Birkbeck. 

The day had now arrived when the people of lUinois, 
in their sovereign capacity, were to pass on a question 
involving interests and consequences of the most 
supreme importance to themselves and their posterity. 
Should a convention be called, there was no question that 
the then existing constitution prohibiting Slavery would 
be changed, and a constitution authorizing Slavery 
would be adopted. Whatever attempts had been made 
in the earlier part of the campaign to make it appear 
that, should a new constitution be made, it did not 
follow it would authorize Slavery, yet, as the contest 
progressed, the Convention men were driven to the 
avowal that it was a Slave Constitution they intended 
to adopt. So, in the end, the naked question was pre- 
sented, "Shall Illinois be a Free or Slave State?" The 
discussions on the stump, through the press, in the 
churches, at the cross-roads and at the fireside, had 
prepared the people to decide the question. It was on 
the first Monday of August, 1824, that the election was 
to take place. The hand-to-hand struggle had con- 
tinued eighteen months, and superhuman exertions had 
been made on both sides. Both parties welcomed the 

155 



156 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



arrival of the moment that was finally to end a struggle 
that had evoked so much feeling and passion, involved 
so much labor and absorbed such intense interest. The 
following is a vote of counties for and against the Con- 
vention Resolution:^" 

Counties. For. Ag'nst. Counties. For. Ag'nst. 



Alexander, 
Bond, . 
Clark, . 
Crawford, 
Edgar, . 
Edwards, 
Fayette, 
Franklin, 
Fulton, , 
Gallatin, 
Greene, . 
Hamilton, 
Jackson, 
Jefferson, 
Johnson, 
Vote ag 



75 

63 

31 

134 

3 

189 

125 

170 

5 
596 

135 
173 
180 

99 

74 



51 
240 
116 
262 
234 
391 
121 

113 

60 

133 

405 

85 
93 

43 

74 



Lawrence, 158 

Madison, 351 

Marion, 45 

Montgomery, .... 74 

Monroe, I4I 

Morgan, 42 

Pike, 23 

Pope, 273 

Randolph, 357 

Sangamon, .... 153 

St. Clair, 427 

Union, 213 

Washington, . . . . 112 

Wayne, 189 

White, 355 



ainst Convention Resolution, 



Vote for Convention Resolution, 



Being a majority of 
Out of a vote of . 



216 

5^3- 

52 

90 

196 

455 
261 
124 
284 

722 

543 
240 

173 
III 
326 
6,822 
4.950 

1,872 
11,772 



Judge Gillespie has sent me a ticket which he says 
"came from the papers of a man named Samuel Mc- 
Kitrlck, now deceased, and which was used on election 
day on the Convention question. It shows how art 
fully the tickets were gotten up to give the Conven- 
tionists the benefit of accidents; the figures on the back 
of the ticket — '1824' — are in the hand-writing of Mr. 
McK. When you are done with the ticket, please hand 
it to the Historical Society, to be kept as a memento.'' 
The following is the ticket: 

PEOPLE'S BALLOT. 

For new Constitution. 

For article prohibiting banks. 

'"See Pease, The Frontier State, 89. The result of the vote is given as follows: 
4,972 for a convention; 6,640 against it. 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 157 

For exclusion of negroes and mulattoes. 

No right of suffrage or office to negroes or mulattoes. 

For laws excluding negroes and mulattoes from coming into 

and voting in this State. 
For Congressional apportionment. 

The Convention scheme was overwhelmingly de- 
feated, and it would naturally be supposed that the 
men who had thrust it upon the people would have 
been driven from public life. Not so, however. It 
was the year of the Presidential election. While the 
anti-Convention party was united, harmonious and 
vehement in its opposition to the call for a Convention, 
there were serious divisions in it as to Presidential pref- 
erences. General Jackson had been brought out as a 
candidate, and his name evoked great enthusiasm. The 
Convention men generally rallied under his banner, 
while the anti-Convention party divided its vote be- 
tween Adams, Crawford and Clay.* Fighting under the 
Jackson flag, the Convention men achieved great advan- 
tages in the legislative elections, particularly in view of 
the division of their opponents. The Convention 
question out of the way, the Jackson party having been 
formed, became irresistible. The Convention men 
flocked to the standard of "Old Hickory," and though 

*The popular vote was as follows: Jackson one thousand nine hundred and 
one; Adams one thousand five hundred and forty-two; Crawford two hundred and 
nineteen; Clay one thousand and forty-seven. There was no choice of President 
by the people at this election, and the House of Representatives elected John 
Quincy Adams. Hon. Daniel P. Cook, the only Representative in Congress from 
Illinois, cast the vote of the State for Mr. Adams. The vote of Mr. Cook was 
severely denounced by the Jackson men, but it was entirely justifiable. While 
Jackson had a majority of three hundred and fifty votes over Adams, the highest 
opposition candidate, yet he was in a minority of six hundred and eighty-seven 
votes in the State. Cook was elected to the nineteenth Congress in August, 1824, 
but he was beaten for the twentieth Congress in 1826 by Joseph Duncan, the 
Jackson candidate. In 1828 Jackson and Adams were the opposing candidates 
for President, and out of eight thousand three hundred and forty-four votes in 
Illinois, Jackson received six thousand seven hundred and sixty-three. 



158 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

so badly beaten on the Convention Resolution before 
the people, yet as Jackson men they soon found them- 
selves in the majority in the State, controlling every- 
thing, while the anti-Convention men, who had won 
so glorious a triumph for liberty and preserved to the 
people the blessings of our free constitution, politically 
went to the wall. The Legislature of 1824-5, instead 
of electing Governor Coles or some other prominent 
anti-Convention man Senator, to succeed Ninian 
Edwards, elected Elias Kent Kane, a strong pro-Slavery 
and Convention man, for the long term, and John 
McLean, equally Convention and pro-Slavery, for the 
short term. Four Judges of the Supreme Court were 
elected by the same Legislature: William Wilson, Chief 
Justice, Samuel D. Lockwood, Theophilus W. Smith, 
and Thomas C. Browne, Justices. The two latter had 
been Convention men, and Smith one of the most vio- 
lent and offensive, though one of the ablest in the State. 
There is nothing stranger than this in our political 
history. 

David Blackwell, having been elected a member of 
the House of Representatives from St. Clair county, 
resigned his office as Secretary of State in Oct., 1824. 
In the following letter Governor Coles offered the posi- 
tion to Mr. Birkbeck. 

Governor Coles to Mr. Birkbeck. 

Edwardsville, Sep. 22, 1824. 
Dear Sir: — Mr. Blackwell, having been elected a member of 
the Legislature, has notified me that he shall resign the office of 
Secretary of State on the 2nd or 3d of next month. The object 
of this letter is to offer that situation to you. It is desirable that 
I should hear from you on this subject as soon as possible, and if 
you should think proper to accept, I wish you to meet me at 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 159 

Vandalia during the first week of October. It has occurred to 
me that if the office of Secretary of the State should not be agree- 
able to you to hold permanently, it would be so at least during 
the next winter. Be this, however, as it may, it affords me pleasure 
to have it in my power to give you so strong a proof of the high 
estimation in which I hold your character, and to gratify the deep 
rooted attachment of your friend, 

Edward Coles. 
Morris Birkbeck, Esq.., 
Wanborough. 
I had hoped after the great and decided majority which was 
given at the late election against a Convention, my political 
enemies would have ceased to persecute me. But in this I was 
mistaken. It would seem I must be sacrificed. Nothing short 
of my entire ruin will satisfy my enemies, and they seem deter- 
mined to effect it without regard to the means. Yesterday the 
suit which has been instituted against me for freeing my negroes 
was called up for trial. Judge Reynolds not only decided several 
points of law against me, in opposition to the opinion of several of 
the best lawyers in the State, but he and Mr. Turney rejected all 
my testimony as illegal, and would not permit a solitary word to 
be uttered by a witness of mine. Under such circumstances the 
jury found a verdict of |2,ooo against me, which, with the cost, 
will be a difficult sum for me to raise, these hard times. I shall 
ask for a new trial. If this application should share the fate of 
all the others I have made, it is to be hoped he will not assume 
the power, to prevent my taking an appeal to the Supreme Court. 

In haste, your friend, 

Ed. Coles. 

In the following letter Mr. Birkbeck accepted the 
office tendered: 

Mr. Birkbeck to Governor Coles. 

Vandalia, Oct. 9, 1824. 
Dear Sir: — I received your favor of Sept. 22, offering me the 
situation of Secretary of State, and expressing your wish, in case 
of my accepting the office, that I would meet you at this place 



160 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

during the first week of this month. Relying on your judgment 
rather than my own in regard to my qualifications, and feeling 
great pleasure in the prospect of its affording me the occasion of 
more frequent friendly intercourse with you, I concluded to accept 
your proposal, and accordingly arrived here last night. I am truly 
sorry to learn from Col. Field that you are detained at Edwards- 
ville by indisposition. Waiting for your instructions, I remain, 
Dear Sir, 

Yours most truly, 

M. BiRKBECK. 

Gov. Coles. 

Though the call of a Convention had been largely 
defeated, yet the pro-Slavery men at the same election 
elected a majority of the Senate, which had to pass on 
the Governor's nomination for Secretary of State. 
They were but too well pleased to be enabled to visit 
their wrath on Mr. Birkbeck, who had wielded so potent 
an influence in securing the rejection of their Conven- 
tion project. His nomination was therefore rejected, 
and he only held the office for the period of three 
months, from Oct. 15, 1824, to Jan. 15, 1825. The 
rejection of Birkbeck by the Senate was utterly unjusti- 
fiable, for a better appointment could not have been 
made. The office at the time he went into it was in a 
state of confusion and disorder, but during his brief 
occupancy he reduced it to perfect order and arrange- 
ment. Sometime afterwards, speaking of Mr. Birk- 
beck, Governor Duncan said to a gentleman: 'T came 
to Vandalia with every prejudice against Mr. Birkbeck 
as Secretary of State, but when I looked into the office 
and saw the order and management, especially when 
contrasted with the previous confusion, my opinion was 
completely changed." This was the only office that 



WASHBURN E'S EDWARD COLES 161 

Mr. Birkbeck ever held in the State. Though rejected 
by a partisan and pro-Slavery Senate, and from motives 
unworthy of such a body, Illinois was honored by his 
holding the position even for so short a time. But it 
was not permitted to Mr. Birkbeck to live to see the 
development of that State which he had labored so 
effectually to keep free. On the 4th of June, 1825, on 
his return to Wanborough from a visit to New Har- 
mony, Indiana, he was drowned while crossing Fox 
River. His body, taken two days afterwards to New 
Harmony, was buried with every mark of respect and 
affection. Thus perished at the age of sixty-two years, 
Morris Birkbeck, one of the ablest and most cultivated 
men of his time in Illinois, whose influence wielded in 
the cause of freedom and humanity should always be 
gratefully remembered. None of his descendants re- 
mained in the State after his death. Two of his sons 
went to Mexico, some members of his family returned 
to England, and subsequently removed to Australia. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Further Correspondence between Governor Coles and 
Roberts Vaux; Important and Interesting Letter of 
THE Governor on the Situation; His Account of the 
Malicious Law Suit Instituted Against Him for Free- 
ing His Slaves; His Noble Words in the Deed of Eman- 
cipation; The Prejudice of the Judge; Verdict against 
Him for Two Thousand Dollars; Case Appealed to the 
Supreme Court and Judgment Reversed; His Unpleasant 
AND Embarrassing Position; Mobbed by a Rabble at 
Vandalia; The Spirit which Sustained Him and the 
Faith which Upheld Him; Beautiful Tribute of Mr. 
Vaux to Governor Coles. 

The following letter of Governor Coles to Mr. Vaux, 
has a great historic interest. It illustrates the feeling 
in the State at the time it was written, and shows the 
persecution which the Governor was subjected to on 
account of the decided stand he took on the Slavery 
question. The lawsuit which he gives so full and inter- 
esting an account of, has gone into the judicial annals 
of the State. The manner in which the prosecution 
was abetted by the judges, and the political character 
that was given to it, will forever stain the history of our 
judiciary. Governor Coles had freed his slaves before 
entering the State, but after his arrival at Edwards- 
ville, for the better protection of the freedmen, and on 
the advice of the Hon. Daniel P. Cook, one of the 
most eminent lawyers of the State in his time, he gave 
separate papers of manumission to all his former slaves. 
At this time neither Governor Coles nor Mr. Cook 
knew anything about a law of the State that had been 
previously passed, but which was not promulgated till 

162 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 163 

several months afterwards. This law prohibited any 
person from bringing into the State any negroes for the 
purpose of emancipation, unless he should give bonds 
in the penalty of one thousand dollars that the negro 
would not become a county charge, and that if the 
emancipator neglected to give this bond he should for- 
feit and pay the sum of two hundred dollars for every 
negro emancipated. Governor Coles had executed 
papers of manumission to persons, who had been his 
slaves, after they had been brought into the State, in 
technical violation of the statute in such case made and 
provided, and the pro-Slavery men were quick to avail 
themselves of an opportunity to harass and punish him. 
A suit was instituted, "The County of Madison versus 
Edward Coles," and the writ was made returnable at 
the March term of the Circuit Court at Edwardsville, 
1824. John Reynolds was the presiding Judge. The 
defendant plead the Statute of Limitations, and put 
in several special pleas to plaintiff's declaration. A 
demurrer was filed by plaintiff to the special pleas. 
The Court took time to consider, and the case went 
over to the September term. At this term of the Court 
John Reynolds again presided. A demurrer to the plea 
of the Statute of Limitations having been sustained, 
and the demurrer to the special pleas having been up- 
held, the defendant pleaded nil debit. Issue was joined, 
and the case was* submitted to the jury, who returned 
a verdict against defendant for two thousand dollars. 
From a Bill of Exceptions taken during the trial and 
spread upon the records of the Court, it appears that 
the defendant. Coles, offered to give in evidence and 
prove to the jury that, three of the negroes mentioned 



164 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in the declaration of the plaintiff had departed this life 
before the commencement of the suit; but the astute 
Judge would not permit the testimony to be given, 
thus practically deciding that it was necessary to give 
a bond to hold the county harmless from the support of 
ciead men. The defendant then offered to prove by 
Joseph Conway, the clerk of the County Commissioner's 
Court, that the defendant had never been notified or 
required to give bond, but the Court would not permit 
such evidence to be given. The defendant further 
offered to prove by Daniel P. Cook, the attorney under 
whose advice he acted, the conversation he had with 
him before the date of certificate of manumission, and 
that he, Cook, advised the giving of such certificate in 
order to protect the negroes, and to "enable them to 
live themselves;" and also to prove by said Cook all 
the circumstances and conversation between said wit- 
ness and defendant, which induced and led to the execu- 
tion of said certificate, all of which evidence was 
rejected — the record to state that the plaintiff gave in 
evidence the following certificate: 

* 'Whereas, my father, the late John Coles, of Albe- 
marle, in the State of Virginia, did in his last will and 
testament give and bequeath to me certain negro slaves, 
among others Robert Crawford and his sister Polly 
Crawford, the said Robert Crawford being a mulatto 
man, about five feet seven inches high, and now about 
twenty-seven years of age; and the said Polly being a 
mulatto woman about five feet one inch high, and now 
about sixteen or seventeen years of age. And whereas^ 
I do not believe that 7nan can have a right of property in 
his fellow man^ but on the contrary^ that all mankind are 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 165 

endowed by nature with equal rights^ I do, therefore, by 
these presents restore to the said Robert and his sister 
Polly, that inalienable liberty of which they have been 
deprived. And I do hereby renounce for myself and 
my heirs forever all claim of every description whatever 
to them and their services, and I do hereby emancipate 
and make free the said Robert Crawford and his sister, 
Polly Crawford. In testimony whereof, the said Coles 
set his hand, and seal, on the iQth day of July, 1819." 

This act of emancipation executed by Governor 
Coles and spread upon the records of the Court, stands 
out to his immortal honor, and makes more conspicuous 
the infamy of his persecutors. 

The motion for a new trial, which had been made 
in the case at the September term, 1824, was not 
decided at that term, and the case went over to the 
March term, 1825. At this term of the court Judge 
Samuel McRoberts presided. The motion for a new 
trial in the case which he found undecided, was 
promptly overruled. Between the term of the court 
in September, 1824, and the March term, 1825, the 
Legislature (in January, 1825), passed an act releasing 
all penalties incurred under the act of i8ig (including 
those sued for), upon which Coles was prosecuted. 
The law required as conditions precedent to the release 
of the penalties, the execution of a bond that the 
negroes should not become a charge upon any county 
in the State, and that all the costs of the suit and 
damages incurred should be paid. To enable the 
defendant to take advantage of this act at the June 
term, it was moved at the same term to set aside the 
verdict and judgment to enable him to plead puis 



166 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

darrien continuance. McRoberts proved equal to this 
last phase of the case; he overruled the motion for a 
new trial and rejected the plea, holding that the Legis- 
lature could not make a law to bar the recovery of the 
penalty in this case. The judge, however, was not 
able to prevent the defendant from taking an appeal 
to the Supreme Court of the State. This appeal was 
taken and heard at the June term of the court at Van- 
dalia, 1826. The judgment of the Circuit Court was 
reversed and the cause remanded, with directions to 
receive the defendant's plea. Chief Justice Wilson 
gave an able and elaborate opinion. Coles, plaintif in 
error, versus the County of Madison, defendant in error; 
Breese s Reports, page 11^. The case was argued 
before the Supreme Court by Henry Starr for Coles, 
and Turney and Reynolds for the county of Madison. 
Henry Starr was at this time residing at Edwardsville, 
and one of the best lawyers in the State. He was a 
strong personal and political friend of Governor Coles, 
and took a deep interest in this case. After being 
several years at Edwardsville, he returned to Cincin- 
nati, where he attained great eminence in his profession. 
He died only a few years since. 

Governor Coles to Roberts Faux. 

Vandalia, Jan'y 21, 1824. 
My Friend: — While at Edwardsville a few days since, I 
received a letter from D. B. Smith, notifying me that he had for- 
warded to the care of I. I. Smith & Co., of St. Louis, certain 
pamphlets; previous to which, however, I had been informed by 
one of that company that he expected them, and had requested 
him to notify me so soon as they should be received, and to for- 
ward them to me to this place by the first safe opportunity. I 
also had the pleasure to receive at Edwardsville the pamphlet 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 167 

you were so good as to enclose me by mail. The information 
contained in this pamphlet in relation to the foreign slave trade, 
is highly interesting. I must, however, be allowed to express my 
regret that it does not bear more directly on the question, which 
is now agitating us here, by showing the resemblance between 
the foreign and domestic slave trade, and the inevitable effect of 
the extension of Slavery into new regions, to continue and increase 
this odious traffic. To add to the circulation of this, as well as 
the pamphlet I had previously the pleasure to receive from you, 
I shall, if possible, prevail on some of the editors to publish them 
in their newspapers. But unfortunately for our cause, of the five 
newspapers printed in this State, four are the avowed advocates 
of Slavery (in other words for a Convention) and but one of Free- 
dom, and that one not friendly to me and other opponents of the 
Convention. This division among us arises from factions, per- 
sonal and local feelings, and from the circumstance that we have 
many avowed friends of freedom, who are themselves the masters 
of slaves; and who, while they unite with us in opposing the means 
of the further introduction of Slavery, are at the same time 
violently opposed to our efforts to abolish the remnant of Slavery 
which is still allowed to stain our soil. There is also another 
class among us who profess to be opposed to Slavery, and who rail 
much against it, but yet who are friendly to it, as is fully evinced 
by their advocating every measure calculated to introduce and 
tolerate it here. The character and feelings of these several 
classes of our citizens were strongly exemplified last winter, when, 
on entering into office, I called the attention of the Legislature to 
the existence of Slavery among us, and urged its abolition. As 
it may be the means of throwing some light on the slave question 
in this State, I will send you, accompanying this letter, a printed 
copy of my speech, and a report made by a committee of the 
Legislature on a part of it. 

My remarks and recommendation on the subject of slavery 
produced a great excitement among those who held slaves, or 
were desirous of holding them, particularly among those advo- 
cates of a Convention who were professedly the opponents of 
Slavery, but secretly its friends, and who hoped under the fair 
mask of freedom, to deceive the people, and to smuggle in the 



168 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIVNS 

monster Slavery. Bringing forward the measure of abolition at 
the same time they brought forward the Convention question, 
placed these professed friends to the rights of man in an awkward 
situation, for it was apparent if they voted agreeable to their 
declarations, they, together with the real and genuine friends of 
freedom, would constitute a majority of the Legislature, and of 
course pass the abolition Bill. This state of things had the effect 
of unmasking their true opinions and views, and of clearly exhib- 
iting to the public the real object for which a convention was to 
be called — that of making this a Slave-holding State. For having 
been instrumental in effecting this, and also for having acted up 
to my principles in restoring liberty to certain slaves given to me 
by my father, it would seem I am never to be forgiven, but to be 
subject to an unrelenting and cruel persecution, which aims to 
destroy not only my political influence, but my personal character 
and property. After having resorted to various means to injure 
my standing with the people, an effort is now made to cripple my 
pecuniary resources, and thus to disable me from promoting the 
cause of freedom, and of punishing me for what I have done in 
this way. A suit has been recently instituted against me to re- 
cover the penal sum of ^200 for each negro emancipated and 
brought by me to this State. This suit has been brought under 
a law passed about the first of April, 1819, which prohibited any 
person from bringing into this State any negro for the purpose of 
emancipation, unless he would give bond under a penalty of 
^1,000 that the negro should not become a county charge, and that 
if the emancipator neglected to give this bond he should forfeit 
and pay the sum of |2oo for each negro emancipated. My negroes 
emigrated to and settled in this State about one month after the 
passage of this act, but more than^y^ months before it was printed 
or promulgated. To the peculiar hardship of my case, from the 
impossibility of knowing of the existence of the law, until after I 
had violated its provisions and incurred its penalty, is to be added 
the fact of my not being content with freeing the negroes in 
Virginia, and thus relinquishing more than one-third of the prop- 
erty given me by my father, but from a desire to promote their 
interest, removed them to this State, at an expense of between 
five and six hundred dollars, and then gave them as a remunera- 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 169 

tion for their past services, and a stimulous to future exertion, 
one hundred and sixty acres of land to each who had passed the 
age of 24. They all behaved uniformly well, and are honest, 
industrious and prosperous. And what is truly farcical in this 
suit is that it has been instituted at the instance of a worthless 
fellow, the tool of a faction, who is destitute of property, and pays 
no tax, and of course has no direct interest whether the negroes 
become a county charge or not, when they are all young and 
healthy, and so prosperous that one of the families pay as much 
as four dollars as a tax to the county. Never having been sued 
before, I feel the more mortified at being prosecuted for violating 
the laws of a State over which the people have called me to pre- 
side, but this mortification is considerably abated when I reflect 
on the nature of my offense, and the character of the prosecutors. 

About the time of instituting this suit I had the misfortune 
to lose by fire about two-thirds of all the buildings and enclosures 
on my farm. Soon after which the "State House" was also con- 
sumed by fire. The inhabitants of this place, feeling that they 
had an interest in its being immediately rebuilt, proposed to do 
so by contribution. After my recent loss by fire, and with this 
suit hanging over me, I did not feel myself in a situation to be 
very liberal; and not liking some of the arrangements, proposed 
an alteration of them, and in the meantime declined subscribing. 
This was immediately seized hold of by the friends of a Conven- 
tion, who formed a mob, and paraded the streets nearly the whole 
night, giving vent to their spleen against me for my opposition 
to a Convention, and refusal, as they termed it, to rebuild the 
State House. In this way every little circumstance is laid hold of 
to render me unpopular; but in this case their passions led them 
too far, as their conduct has produced on the community a re- 
action which has been of service to me, and the cause I advocate. 
Discovering this, they now deny having had anything to do with 
the mob. 

Having had the good fortune, through every period of my 
life, to live in great harmony with my fellow man, the enmity 
and persecution I have lately had to encounter, have created a 
new state of feeling, and caused me to look into my own conduct 
to see whether it has been correct. In this review I have been 



170 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

gratified to find I have not given just cause of offense to any one; 
but I have been grieved to perceive with what virulence I have 
been pelted, when the only complaint against me is, that I am a 
friend to the equal rights of man, and am considered a barrier to 
my opponents acquiring the power of oppressing their fellow men. 
Under this view of my situation, I am gratified that Providence 
has placed me in the van of this great contest; and I am truly 
thankful that my system is so organized as to leave no room for 
doubt, fear or hesitation. My opinions have long since been 
maturely formed, and my course deliberately taken, and is not 
now to be changed by detraction, prosecutions, or threats of 
* 'Convention or death. ^ ' 

I beg you excuse my troubling you with the perusal of so long 
a letter, and that you will pardon me for having said so much of 
myself, in consideration of its connection with the great question 
now agitating this State, by interesting yourself in which you 
have displayed so signal and praiseworthy an instance of your 
benevolence — for which I pray you to accept the grateful thanks 
of your friend, 

Edward Coles. 
To Roberts Vaux, 
Philadelphia. 

This letter of Governor Coles, written in the con- 
fidence of private friendship, now made public after a 
period of nearly sixty years, will show to the people of 
Illinois at the present day the extent of his persecution 
for "righteousness sake." Harassed by malicious 
lawsuits, a victim of the prejudices of unjust judges, 
mobbed by a rabble, maligned and misrepresented in 
every possible way, his position was one of the most 
unpleasant and embarrassing in which a public man 
can find himself. But armed with the panoply of truth 
and justice, and battling in a great and holy cause, 
he was never dismayed or discouraged. The spirit 
which sustained him, and the faith which upheld him, 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 171 

are manifested in the following extract from the above 
letter to Mr. Vaux: 

* 'Having had the good fortune through every period of my 
life, to live in great harmony with my fellow men, the enmity and 
persecution I have lately had to encounter, have created a new 
state of feelings and caused me to look into my own conduct, to 
see whether it has been correct. In this review I have been grati- 
fied to find I have not given just cause of offense to any one; but 
I have been grieved to perceive with what violence I have been 
pelted, when the only complaint against me is that I am a friend 
to the equal rights of man, and am considered a barrier to my 
opponents acquiring the power of oppressing their fellow-men. 
Under this view of my situation, I am gratified that Providence 
has placed me in the van of this great contest, and I am truly 
thankful that my system is so organized as to leave no room for 
doubt, fear or hesitation. My opinions have long since been 
maturely formed, and my course deliberately taken, and is not 
now to be changed by detraction, persecution, or threats of ' 'Con- 
vention or death.'' 

This letter of January 21, 1824, was answered by 
Mr. Vaux July 14, 1824, by a letter containing the 
following most beautiful and just tribute to Governor 
Coles : 

"The part which thee has been called to act, privately as 
well as publicly and officially, in regard to the rights of mankind, 
and for the upholding of the principles of justice, and mercy 
toward a degraded and oppressed portion of our fellow beings, 
ought to be regarded as a manifestation of Providential power, 
concerning which we must always believe the same Divine inter- 
position will be extended in every exigency. I am altogether 
satisfied that it is reserved for thee to witness the triumph of 
truth and beneficence in the struggle to which thee has been 
exposed; and, what is of infinitely greater value, as it respects 



172 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

thyself, to reap a plentiful harvest in the most precious of all 
rewards, the approbation of Heaven! 

I feel a deep interest in thy character, and a lively gratitude 
for thy service, and it will always be among the purest consola- 
tions of my mind to be assured of thy welfare and happiness.' ' 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Letter of Roberts Vaux to Governor Coles; Lieutenant- 
Governor Hubbard Attempts to Usurp the Office of 
Governor; Defeated by the Supreme Court, and Fails 
IN the Legislature; Letter of Governor Coles to 
Roberts Vaux; Enforces his Views on Slavery in a 
Letter to John Rutherford; Views on the Pardoning 
Power in a Letter to Dawiel Hay; An extra Session of 
THE Legislature called; Governor Coles' Message; 
His Recommendations; Visit of Lafayette to Illinois; 
Letter of Lafayette to Governor Coles; Governor 
Coles sends his Aid, Col. Hamilton, to meet him; Notice 
of Col. Hamilton; Reception of Gen. Lafayette at 
Kaskaskia. 

Roberts Vaux to Governor Coles. 

Philadelphia, 6 Mo., 14, 1824. 
Esteemed Friend: — My delay in the acknowledgment of the 
receipt of thy truly interesting letter of Jan'y 21, last, will not, I 
trust, be attributed to any want of respect and kindness, but to 
the real causes, which were, first, an unusual press of business 
relative to several public institutions, which at the season of the 
receipt of that communication demanded my attention; and sec- 
ondly, to the expectation subsequently entertained here, that thy 
presence might be expected at Washington as successor in tlie 
Senate of the United States to N. Edwards, appointed on a foreign 
mission. The likelihood that the latter event might bring us to 
a personal acquaintance in this city, when the session of Congress 
should terminate, was contemplated with pleasure, since a direct 
interchange of opinion would be preferred to epistolary corre- 
spondence. Time, however, has served to show that this prospect 
with many others upon which we dwell with satisfaction, failed 
of realization, and I therefore avail myself of the only means 
which are left to renew the assurance of my remembrance, of my 
undissembled regard, and of my sincere sympathy. The part 
which thee has been called to act privately, as well as publicly, 

173 



174 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

and officially, in regard to the rights of mankind, and for the 
upholding of the principles of justice, and mercy toward a degraded 
and oppressed portion of our fellow beings, ought to be regarded 
as a manifestation of Providential power, concerning which we 
must always believe the same Divine interposition will be extended 
in every exigency. I am altogether satisfied that it is reserved 
for thee to witness the triumph of truth and beneficence in the 
struggle to which thee has been exposed; and, what is of infinitely 
greater value, as it respects thyself, to reap a plenteous harvest 
in the most precious of all rewards, the approbation of Heaven! 

I feel a deep interest in thy character, and a lively gratitude 
for thy services, and it will always be among the purest consola- 
tions of my mind to be assured of thy welfare and happiness; with 
these impressions I salute thee, and remain faithfully. 

Thy Friend, 

Roberts Vaux. 
To Edward Coles, 

Governor of Illinois. 

P. S. — I yesterday passed half an hour with our friend, N. 
Biddle; he is well, but very much occupied with official duties at 
the bank. 

Roberts Vaux to Governor Coles. 

BiRDWOOD Lodge, 9 Mo. i, 1824. 

Dear Friend: — The last intelligence from Philaelphia is, that 
the great question which has so long agitated your State, and which 
had a bearing so important upon the common interests of human- 
ity and justice, has been determined. Happy for your common- 
wealth! Creditable for our country! Slavery will not be 
permitted to overrun Illinois! The result of the conflict is truly 
joyous; you have said to the moral plague, ^ ^ Thus far ^ but no far- 
ther, shalt thou come.' ' 

My warmest congratulations are tendered on this great event, 
though I know how inferior all exterior circumstances must be in 
comparison with the heart-solacing reward which is reaped by 
thy devotedness in this noble cause. 

Since I have been at my summer residence, I have received 
several numbers of an Illinois newspaper, and a pamphlet from 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 175 

the same quarter, all which contained highly interesting matter 
relative to the question then undecided in your State; I presume 
I am indebted to thy kindness for those documents, for which I 
feel greatly obliged. The letter of Thos. Jefferson addressed to 
thyself, is very interesting, and I have it in contemplation to 
cause it to be printed in a tract form, for general distribution, 
provided such use of it, may be altogether agreeable to thee. 

I have indulged myself with a hope that it may be within the 
range of probability, that thee will make a visit to Philadelphia 
ere long. Not anything would give me more pleasure than thy 
presence in our city, and that gratification would be increased by 
thy making my house thy home. I have much more to com- 
municate than I have leisure now to put on paper, as we are today 
preparing to return, on the morrow, to our house in town. 
With sincere regard I remain thy friend, 

Roberts Vaux. 
To Edward Coles, 

Governor of Illinois, 
Edwardsville. 

The following letter giving an account of the absurd 
attempt of Lieutenant-Governor Hubbard, to usurp 
the office of Governor, will revive the history of a strange 
and ludicrous transaction. It also alludes to the libel 
suits instituted against the Governor for his just criti- 
cisms on the scandalous conduct of the judge who tried 
the case against him for freeing his slaves. 

On the 22nd of June, 1825, Governor Coles notified 
Lieutenant-Governor Hubbard that he would be absent 
from the State after the i8th of July, and that the 
duties of the Executive would devolve on him during 
his absence, which would not be longer than about 
three months. Coles returned to the State on the 31st 
of October, 1825, and entered on the discharge of his 
duties, being recognized as Governor by all the Execu- 



176 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tive officers of the State. Hubbard having been the 
acting Governor for about ten weeks, and being pleased 
with his position, concluded that it would be a good 
thing to hold on to it. He therefore set up the claim 
that Governor Coles, by absenting himself from the 
State, had abdicated and forfeited the office, and that 
he, as Lieutenant-Governor, was entitled to it. On 
the 2nd of November, and two days after Coles had 
assumed the duties of his office, Hubbard issued a 
commission appointing Wm. L. D. Ewing Paymaster 
General, and requested the Secretary of State to 
countersign and seal the commission. This the Sec- 
retary, George Forquer, refused to do. Then Ewing 
applied to the Supreme Court for a mandamus to com- 
pel Forquer to sign his commission, and the motion 
was heard by the full court at Vandalia, at the De- 
cember term, 1825. The court assumed that its decision 
would decide the question whether Coles or Hubbard 
was Governor of the State. Able opinions were given 
by Justices Lockwood and Smith, and the court unani- 
mously decided that it would not award the mandamus. 
Hubbard then went to the Legislature, but with no 
better success than he had before the Court. Not 
much is now known of "Lieutenant Governor Hub- 
bard." 

In 1826 a new election for Governor took place, and 
there were three candidates — Ninian Edwards, Thomas 
C. Sloo, and Adolphus Frederick Hubbard. The latter 
gentleman having failed to step into the shoes of Gov- 
ernor Coles, offered himself as a candidate before the 
people. As a part of a picture of the times and as 
illustrative of what a candidate thought of himself and 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 177 

of the people, Governor Ford, in his history of Illinois 
gives one of Hubbard's speeches in the canvass. 
"Fellow citizens," said he, "I offer myself as a candi- 
date before you, for the office of Governor. I do not 
pretend to be a man of extraordinary talents; nor do I 
claim to be equal to Julius Caesar, or Napoleon Bona- 
parte, nor yet to be as great a man as my opponent. 
Governor Edwards. Nevertheless, I think I can govern 
you pretty well. I do not think it will require a very 
extraordinary smart man to govern you; for to tell you 
the truth, fellow citizens, I do not believe you will be 
very hard to govern no how." 

Lieutenant-Governor Hubbard was at Washington 
in the winter of 1824, and at the time that Ninian 
Edwards resigned his seat in the Senate on being 
appointed Minister to Mexico. He took it into his 
head that he could advance his own fortunes by this 
resignation, and he prevailed on the Senator to entrust 
him with his letter of resignation to take in person 
to Governor Coles. As to how he proceeded, I will let 
Governor Coles speak, in a letter to his brother-in-law, 
the Hon. Andrew Stevenson, afterwards Speaker of the 
United States House of Representatives, and dated 
April 7 th, 1824: 

* 'On the last day of March the Lieutenant-Governor of this 
State (Hubbard) arrived here from Washington, where he had 
been on a visit, bringing me the official notice of the resignation 
of Ninian Edwards. He told me Mr. Cook and Mr. Edwards had 
induced him to come on, under the belief that I would either 
resign my office and accept a seat in the Senate from him, or confer 
it on him. It was with some difficulty that I could restrain my 
indignation at the idea of thus sneaking into the Senate, or of 
sending to it such a simpleton as my Lieutenant." 



178 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

From the speech of Hubbard above quoted, and 
from what is generally known of him at the present 
day, I think the verdict will be that Governor Coles 
was right when he called him a "simpleton." 

Governor Coles to Roberts Vaux, 

Vandalia, Illinois, February 8, 1826. 
My Dear Sir: — When I had the happiness to enjoy your 
society last summer in Philadelphia, you were so kind as to express 
a wish to hear from me on my return to this State. I should 
long since have fulfilled the promise then made you to comply 
with this request, which I felt was as flattering to me, as it was 
kind in you; but for a mass of business which had accumulated 
during my absence, the preparation for the meeting, and the labor 
and interruption attendant on the session of the Legislature, 
which adjourned a few days since; and the novel and extraordinary 
efforts made by some of my old political opponents to supplant 
me in the 6ffice of Governor, by thrusting in my place the 
Lieutenant-Governor, a zealous and thorough-going advocate of 
Slavery. I had heard nothing of this intention (for although many 
letters were written to me, it so happened not one ever came to 
hand, or has since been heard of) until I reached Louisville on my 
way home, when I was told by a friend that he had been informed 
by a distinguished opponent of mine that it had been determined 
that I should not be permitted to resume the office of Governor. 
On my arriving in the State, I found that there had been several 
caucuses held in different places, by what are called the knowing 
ones, for the purpose of devising the best mode of proceeding, and 
of organizing their forces to act against me. All the Executive 
officers of the State recognizing me as Governor, I found no 
difficulty in entering at once on the duties of the office. The 
Lieutenant-Governor, however, still remained at the seat of Gov't, 
contending that I had vacated the office by my absence from 
the State, and that he was, under the constitution, the acting 
Governor. On the meeting of the Supreme Court he applied for 
a mandamus against the Secretary of State. The court refused 
the mandamus on an incidental point, and got rid of the main 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 179 

question without deciding it. Soon after this the General Assem- 
bly met, and efforts were made to induce it to recognize the Lieu- 
tenant as the acting Governor; but these efforts having failed, he 
made a communication to both Houses, setting forth his claims 
to the office of Governor, and asking to be heard by himself or 
counsel in support of them. Nothing was done with this com- 
munication, there being only one member in each House openly in 
favor of the Lieutenant-Governor's pretensions. There would 
doubtless have been more if there had been any prospect of ousting 
me. I attribute the unexpected unanimity to the circumstance 
of the question having been stirred in time to afford the people 
an opportunity of making known their opinions and feelings to 
their Representatives, previous to their leaving home to take 
their seats in the Legislature. The current of public opinion on 
this question was too strong in my favor to be resisted by any 
but a most desperate antagonist. This effort of my opponents 
has recoiled very much to my advantage, in weakening their 
popularity, and adding to the strength of mine. 

You will recollect my having shown you last summer some 
strictures, which I had been induced to publish on the judge's 
opinion in the malicious suit which had been instituted against 
me for freeing my negroes, in consequence of several extraordinary 
errors of fact, as well as of law, which it contained, and the unusual 
pains taken by the judge to publish and circulate these errors to 
my injury. Two actions have been instituted against me for this 
publication — one by the court — the other in the name of the 
judge as an individual, in which he has laid his damages at $5,000. 
The former is to be tried at Edwardsville next month — the latter 
at this place in April. The original suit, or mother of the judge's 
twin suits, is still pending in our Supreme Court, and is expected 
will be decided at the June term. I trust I shall get rid of all of 
these suits in the course of the spring and summer. I feel the 
more anxious to do so as they are the first suits that ever were 
instituted against me. 

I have not heard anything of the pamphlets which you were 
so good as to promise to send me. I shall go to St. Louis in about 
a month, when I hope to receive them. I see noticed in the 
public prints a new pamphlet, published by G. and C. Carville, 



180 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

at New York, on the emancipation and removal of the slaves of 
the U. S. If you could conveniently lay your hands on this 
pamphlet, you would confer a favor on me by sending it to me by 
mail. May I ask the favor of you to hand to Mr. Pry the enclosed 
five dollar note, and request him to forward the National Gazette 
to William Wilson (Chief Justice of the State) Carmi, White 
county, Illinois. 

I beg you to present my kind regards to Mrs. Vaux, and to 
accept my grateful acknowledgments for your very kind and truly 
friendly attentions to me while in Philadelphia; and permit me 
again to renew to you the assurances of my obligations to you for 
the services rendered to humanity and to Illinois during the late 
vile effort to prostitute their rights and character, and to repeat 
that the virtuous and benevolent interest you evinced on that 
occasion will ever endear you to 

Edward Coles. 
Roberts Vaux, Esq., 
Philadelphia. 

The above letter of Governor Coles contains further 
evidence of the judicial persecution to which he was 
subjected. In a temperate article in a newspaper he 
made a legitimate criticism on some of the outrageous 
and indefensible rulings of Judge McRoberts, in the 
case of Madison county against him, for freeing his 
slaves in the State, without giving bonds. Eagerly 
seizing hold of this publication, the Judge had the gross 
indelicacy to go before the Grand Jury of his own 
Court, and by virtue of his official influence and posi- 
tion he procured an Indictment for libel against Gov- 
ernor Coles. As that was not enough, he commenced 
a civil suit against the Governor, laying his damages at 
five thousand dollars. This action of McRoberts was 
as malicious as was the suit of Madison county, as the 
sequel proved. A nolle prosequi was entered In the 
case of the Indictment and the civil suit was never 



WASHBURNE'S EDJVARD COLES 181 

brought to trial. The following letter of Governor 
Coles to A. Cowles, the Circuit Attorney, shows that 
he never consented to the dismissal of the indictment, 
and that he was determined to probe McRobert's con- 
duct to the bottom. It is to be regretted that the 
answer of the Circuit Attorney is not to be found to 
publish with the letter of Governor Coles. 

Edwardsville, Aug. i6, 1826. 

Dear Sir: — Believing that I should have been able to prove 
that I had not libeled Judge McRoberts, and explain how the 
Grand Jury had been induced to present me for so doing, it was 
with great regret that I heard you had thought proper to dismiss 
the prosecution. Fearing that some malicious person may mis- 
represent this transaction at some future day, when those who 
now understand it may have forgotten many of the details in 
relation to it, or perhaps be dead, or have removed from the 
country, I have determined to ask the favor of you to give me 
a written answer to the following questions: 

Did you summon or request Judge McRoberts to appear 
before the Grand Jury, which presented me for libeling him? 

Did not Judge McRoberts request to see the indictment 
before it was delivered to the Grand Jury, and did he not examine 
and alter it, and If so what were the alterations made by him? 

Did you ask Mr. Blackwell to aid you in the prosecution of 
me, and do you know whether he was employed by Judge Mc- 
Roberts to do so? 

As you have expressed the opinion verbally to several persons, 
that I had not libeled Judge McRoberts, I ask the favor of you 
to give me your opinion in writing, whether the matter contained 
in the indictment was a libel? 

With great respect, I am &c., &c., 

Edward Coles. 
A. CowLEs, Esq., 

Circuit Attorney, 

Edwardsville. 

P. S. — Why was not Judge McRoberts returned as a witness, 
on the back of the indictment? 



182 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

What will be remarked in regard to Governor Coles, 
is that the subject of Slavery was always uppermost in 
his mind, and that he lost no opportunity in enforcing 
his views. The following letter to his brother-in-law, 
John Rutherford, who had just been elected to the 
Virginia Legislature, exhibits the deep interest he felt 
in ameliorating the conditions of Slavery in his native 
commonwealth of Virginia. 

Extract from a letter from Governor Coles to John Rutherford. 

Vandalia, July 5, 1826. 

I give you many thanks, my dear Sir, for your long and truly 
affectionate letter of February, and assure you, I feel great con- 
trition for having so long delayed the expression of them, and of 
saying how much gratified I was at perusing your kind letter, and 
the glad tidings it gave me of the health and happiness of our dear 
Emily and her little ones; and also the pleasure I have since 
derived at finding from the newspapers in what a flattering manner 
your fellow citizens have elected you to represent them in the 
Legislature. 

I am greatly gratified at your election, not only from the 
regard I have for you as a man, &c., and the consequent interest 
I take in, and the pleasure I derive from your success; but I am 
particularly so in seeing men of your principles in relation to 
negro Slavery in the Councils of Virginia, as it cheers me with the 
hope that something will soon be done to repudiate the unnatural 
connection which has there so long existed between the freest of 
the free and the most slavish of the slaves. 

Even if it were feasible, from the extraordinary apathy in the 
great mass of the people, and the zeal displayed by many to per- 
petuate the evil, I could not hope for speedy emancipation, but I 
do trust for the honor as well as interest of the State that amelio- 
rating laws will be speedily passed, which will gradually have the 
effect of reconciling and habituating the masters, and preparing 
the slaves for a change which, as Mr. Jefferson says, must sooner 
or later take place with or without the consent of the masters. 
It behooves Virginia to move in this great question; and it is a 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 183 

solemn duty which her politicians owe to their country, to them- 
selves, and to their posterity, to look ahead and make provision 
for the future, and secure the peace, prosperity and glory of their 
country. 

The policy of Virginia for some years past has been most 
unfortunate. So far from acting as if Slavery were an evil which 
ought to be gotten rid of, every measure which could be taken has 
been taken to perpetuate it, as if it were a blessing. Her political 
pilots have acted like the inexperienced navigator, who, to get 
rid of the slight inconvenience of the safety-valves have hermeti- 
cally sealed them, not foreseeing that the inevitable consequence 
will be the bursting of the boiler, and dreadful havoc among all 
on board. No law has been passed under the commonwealth to 
ameliorate the black code of the colony of Virginia; on the contrary, 
new laws have been passed, adding to the oppression of the 
unfortunate negroes, and which have not only abridged the rights 
of humanity, but of the citizen. Such is the character of the law 
which restricts, and to a great degree prohibits the master from 
manumitting his slaves. The idea should be ever present to the 
politicians of Virginia, that the state of Slavery is an unnatural 
state, and cannot exist forever; it must come to an end by consent 
or by force; and if by consent, it must from all experience, as 
from the nature of things, be preceded by ameliorating laws, 
which will have the effect of gradually and imperceptibly loosening 
the bonds of servitude. 

Nothing is more erroneous than the idea which is entertained 
by many, that ameliorating laws, and especially manumissions, 
are productions of insurrections among the slaves. The history 
of the British and Spanish West Indies shows that in those Islands 
where they have prevailed most, the slaves have behaved best, 
and insurrections have occurred oftenest where the slaves have 
been most oppressed and manumissions most restricted. Indeed, 
we never hear of insurrections in the Spanish Islands, where the 
slaves are most under the protection of the law, and where there 
are no restrictions on manumissions. Virginia should repeal the 
law against emancipation, prohibit the domestic slave trade — 
which is nearly allied in all its odious features to the African slave 
trade — restrict the power of the master in disposing of his slaves. 



184 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

by preventing him from separating the child from its parent, the 
husband from his wife, etc., and if possible, connect the slave 
under proper modifications to the soil, or at least to the vicinity 
of his birth; instruct the slaves especially in the duties of Religion; 
extend to them the protection of the laws, and punish severity in 
the master, and when cruelly exercised by him, it should vest 
the right in the slave to his freedom; or to be sold at an assessed 
valuation. These and many other provisions might be adopted 
which would have a most salutary effect, and especially the 
Spanish provision, which gives the right to the slave to buy a 
portion of his time as soon as he can procure the means, either by 
his own labor or by the bounty of others; thus, for instance, 
suppose a negro worth $600, on his paying |ioo, he is entitled to 
one day in each week, and so on. In connection with the eman- 
cipation of slaves, I should provide for the removal by bounty 
and otherwise, of free negroes from the country, as the natural 
difference, and unfortunate prejudices existing between the whites 
and blacks would make it the interest of both to be separated. 
This subject is too big for a letter, and I can only add, that if I 
could see ameliorating laws adopted, if I did not live to see the 
emancipation, I should at least die with the happy consolation 
of believing that measures were in progress for the consummation 
of ultimate justice to the descendants of the unfortunate African; 
and that my country, and the descendants of my family, if not 
my nephews and nieces, would lie down in peace and safety, and 
would not have entailed on them an unnatural and odious system 
productive of strife, enmity and war, between themselves and their 
domestics. I was in hopes to have been able by this time to have 
informed you and my other friends of the result of the malicious 
suit instituted against me for freeing my negroes, and which is 
pending in our Supreme Court. The case was argued last week, 
but the court has adjourned to the ist Monday of January next, 
without deciding it. I was much disappointed in not getting a 
decision; I have however but little fear as to the result. 

The views of Governor Coles on the pardoning 
power, which we give in the following letter, are worthy 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 185 

of the fullest consideration by all vested with such 
authority. 

Governor Coles to Daniel Hay. 

Vandalia, Sept. 17, 1824. 

Dear Sir: — Your letter of the nth inst., with the accompany- 
ing documents, has just been received, and has produced, as you 
may imagine, some embarrassment. The power of pardoning is 
the most unpleasant duty which devolves on the Executive. It 
is not proper that he should so exetrise this power as to arrest and 
defeat the regular course and intent of the law, but that it should be 
only used as a shield to protect the unfortunate in extraordinary 
cases of hardship., when the law has an operation not intended or 
contemplated. I do' not feel myself sufficiently acquainted with 
the circumstances of the case now presented to decide whether 
it is one of that extraordinary character which would justify the 
Executive in arresting the sentence pronounced upon it by the 
proper tribunal. To give time for the receipt of further infor- 
mation, and more reflection, and to afford an opportunity for 
further development of the guilt or innocence of the parties con- 
cerned, in the trial of the other two Shipleys, which it is presumed 
will take place in Nov. next, I have determined to suspend the 
execution of the sentence of the court until the 15th of Dec, 
before which time it is hoped every necessary information will be 
received to enable me to act correctly on the subject. In the 
meantime, those who take an interest in the case will have an 
opportunity of making the facts and their wishes known; and I 
shall have it in my power of seeing and conversing on the subject 
with Judge Wilson, yourself and other persons, who will assemble 
at Vandalia at the meeting of the General Assembly. 

Accompanying this letter I send a reprieve of Cotner, as 
stated above, until Dec. 15. 

In haste, I am, with much respect, your friend, 

Edward Coles. 
Daniel Hay, Esq. 

Owing to a defect in the law for the election of 
electors for President and Vice President of the United 



186 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

States, Governor Coles was obliged to convene an extra 
session of the General Assembly, to meet prior to the 
time fixed for the regular session. This extra session 
was called for November i8, 1824, and its duty was to 
"legalize and render effective the vote of the State in 
the election of a President and Vice President of the 
United States," and to afford "an earlier opportunity 
of electing a Senator to the Congress of the United States 
in the place of Ninian Edwards."* 

The message sent by Governor Coles to this extra 
session of the General Assembly, is one of the ablest 
and most statesman-like documents ever transmitted 
by any Governor of the State. Admirable in temper 
and style, it is marked by wise and sagacious recom- 
mendations. He called attention to "the remnant of 
African Slavery which still existed in the State," and 
entreated the Assembly, in view of the rejection of the 
people of the principle and policy of personal Slavery, 
to make provision for its speedy abolition. He ad- 
verted to the infamous black laws then in existence, and 
the ineffective and inefficient laws against the unnatural 
crime of kidnapping. "To put an end to that nefari- 
ous traffic is the imperious duty of the Legislature. 
There can come before you no subject with a more 
direct appeal to the generous feehngs of humanity, or 
with stronger claims on your sense of justice, than the 
exposed and defenseless condition of free persons of 
color." The stay-laws were strongly condemned, and 
the Assembly was urged to repeal them. The inter- 
ference of the Legislature with contracts, he said, * 'had 

*Mr. Edwards had resigned his seat in the Senate to accept the appointment 
of Minister to Mexico. John McLean, a pro-slavery and Convention man, was 
elected to fill out his vacancy.' 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 187 

a tendency to destroy punctuality, to impair confidence 
and injure the character of a community. It is not less 
the duty than the true policy of a Government strictly 
to comply with all its own engagements, and to enforce 
punctuality upon its citizens. It should then be borne 
in mind that character is capital, and that a people 
desirous of increasing their resources and promoting 
their prosperity, should preserve their faith inviolate." 
On the subject of education, the Governor says: 

"There is no subject claiming the attention of the Legisla- 
ture of more vital importance to the welfare of the State, and its 
future greatness and respectability, than the provision which 
should be made for the education of the rising and succeeding 
generations. Intelligence and virtue are the main pillars in the 
temple of liberty. A government founded on the sovereignty of 
the people, and resting on, and controlled by them, cannot be 
respectable, or even long endure, unless they are enlightened. 
To preserve and hand down to a continuous line of generations, 
that liberty which was obtained by the valor and virtue of our 
forefathers, we must make provision for the moral and intellectual 
improvement of those who are to follow us, and who are to inherit 
and have the disposal of the inestimable boon of self-government." 

In this message the Governor renewed his recom- 
mendation in regard to the Illinois and Michigan 
Canal, and gave to the General Assembly some excellent 
advice touching the selection of judges. He said: 

"It is one of the most important and responsible duties you 
will have to perform during the present session, when it is recol- 
lected that the judges are now to be appointed during good 
behavior — that they will occupy the most important station in 
society, that our lives and fortunes may depend on their wisdom 
and virtue — it should awaken in the members the most serious 
reflections on the importance of their choice and their obligations 



188 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to lay aside personal prejudices and partialities, and assiduously 
endeavor to select the best men — those distinguished for their 
capacity, their acquirements, and their moral character.' ' 

The great event during Governor Coles' admin- 
istration was the visit of Lafayette to Illinois, in May, 
1825. In the month of December previous, the Legis- 
lature of the State had extended to the General a most 
cordial and pressing invitation to visit Illinois. This 
invitation was forwarded by Governor Coles, accom- 
panied by an appropriate letter. It is a singular fact, 
that Lafayette found as Governor of Illinois, the 
young man whose acquaintance he had made in Paris 
only seven years before. In answering the invitation 
of Governor Coles, Lafayette expressed all the happi- 
ness he felt in finding the Chief Magistrate of Illinois a 
personal friend, whom he requested to receive the 
assurances of his affectionate regard. 

General Lafayette from New Orleans wrote the 
following letter, a. facsimile of which is inserted: 

Lafayette to Edward Coles. 

New Orleans, April 12th, 1825. 
My Dear Sir: — Notwithstanding many expostulations I have 
received on the impossibility to perform between the 22nd of 
February, and the 15th of June, the tour of visits which I would 
have been very unhappy to relinquish, for we arrived thus far, 
my companions and myself, and I don't doubt but that by rapid 
movements, can gratify my ardent desire to see every one of the 
Western States, and yet to fulfill a sacred duty as the representa- 
tive of the Revolutionary Army, on the half secular jubilee of 
Bunker Hill. But to do it, my dear Sir, I must avail myself of 
the kind indulgent proposal made by several friends to meet me 
on some point near the river, in the State of Illinois — I will say, 
could Kaskaskia or Shawneetown suit you to pass one day with 




189 

il, but being 
at Shawnee- 
irectly from 
;e the hurry 
this private 
now how to 
y high and 

A.YETTE. 



•nor Coles 
J ac -simile 



28, 1825. 
friend and 
take partic- 

s of the earliest 
n of Governor 
th the rank of 
af Alexander 
yler Hamilton, 
't 4> 1797. and 
signed in 18 17. 
gamon county, 
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[n 1824 he was 
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Diggins," now 
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jsed his ashes, 
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on el Hamilton 
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bridge, Massa- 
md a devoted 
icramento, and 



188 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to lay aside personal prejudices and partialities, and assiduously 
endeavor to select the best men — those distinguished for their 
capacity, their acquirements, and their moral character." 

The great event during Governor Coles' admin- 
istration was the visit of Lafayette to Illinois, in May, 
1825. In the month of December previous, the Legis- 
lature of the State had extended to the General a most 
cordial and pressing invitation to visit Illinois. This 
invitation was forwarded by Governor Coles, accom- 
panied by an appropriate letter. It is a singular fact, 
that Lafayette found as Governor of Illinois, the 
young man whose acquaintance he had made in Paris 
only seven years before. In answering the invitation 
of Governor Coles, Lafayette expressed all the happi- 
ness he felt in finding the Chief Magistrate of Illinois a 
personal friend, whom he requested to receive the 
assurances of his affectionate regard. 

General Lafayette from New Orleans wrote the 
following letter, a facsimile of which is inserted: 

Lafayette to Edward Coles. 

NewOrleans, April I2th, 1825. 
My Dear Sir: — Notwithstanding many expostulations I have 
received on the impossibility to perform between the 22nd of 
February, and the 15th of June, the tour of visits which I would 
have been very unhappy to relinquish, for we arrived thus far, 
my companions and myself, and I don't doubt but that by rapid 
movements, can gratify my ardent desire to see every one of the 
Western States, and yet to fulfill a sacred duty as the representa- 
tive of the Revolutionary Army, on the half secular jubilee of 
Bunker Hill. But to do it, my dear Sir, I must avail myself of 
the kind indulgent proposal made by several friends to meet me 
on some point near the river, in the State of Illinois — I will say, 
could Kaskaskia or Shawneetown suit you to pass one day with 



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WJSHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 189 

me? I expect to leave St. Louis on the 29th of April, but being 
engaged to a day's visit at Gen. Jackson's, I might be at Shawnee- 
town on the 8th of May, if you don't take me directly from 
St. Louis to Kaskaskia or some other place. Excuse the hurry 
of my writing, as the post is going, and receive in this private 
letter, for indeed, to the Governor I would not know how to 
apologize for so polite proposals, receive, I say, my high and 
affectionate regard. 

Lafayette. 
Will you be pleased to forward the enclosed letter. 
His Excellency, Governor Coles; Illinois. 

On the 28th of the same month Governor Coles 
addressed the General the following letter, a facsimile 
of which is also inserted: 

Edwardsville, April 28, 1825. 
Dear Sir: — This will be handed to you by my friend and 
aid- de-camp. Col. William Schuyler Hamilton,* who I take partic- 

*A word as to Wm. S. Hamilton may not be amiss, as he was one of the earliest 
settlers of Illinois, and lived in the State during the administration of Governor 
Coles. He was appointed by the Governor as his aid-de-camp, with the rank of 
Colonel, soon after his installation into office. He was the son of AlexAiVDer 
Hamilton, and his name was William Stephen, not William Schuyler Hamilton, 
as written by Governor Coles. He was born in New York, August 4, 1797, and 
was admitted to the West Point Military Academy in 1814, and resigned in 18 17. 
He left his home in New York and settled at an early day in Sangamon county, 
Illinois. He was United States Deputy Surveyor of the Public Lands, and in that 
capacity surveyed the township in which Springfield now stands. In 1824 he was 
elected a member of the House of Representatives from Sangamon county. In 
1827 he emigrated from this State to the "Fever River Lead Mines." He com- 
menced mining for lead ore at a point soon known as "Hamilton's Diggins," now 
Wiota, in Lafayette county, Wisconsin. I knew Colonel Hamilton well from 
1841 to 1849, when he emigrated to California. He occupied a prominent posi- 
tion in Southwestern Wisconsin, and was a well-known Whig politician. He was 
a member of the House of Representatives in the Territorial Legislature of Wis- 
consin in 1842-3. He died in Sacramento, California, October 9, 1850. For 
nineteen years neither stone nor slab marked the spot where reposed his ashes. 
When the careless grave-digger threw his shovelfuls of earth on his coffin, little 
could he have thought he was covering the remains of a son of Alexander Ham- 
ilton, in my judgment the greatest of all American statesmen. Colonel Hamilton 
was brave, generous, hospitable and humane; and unusually quick in perception 
and decided in action. In 1879, Cyrus Woodman, Esq., of Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, who was long a resident of Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and a devoted 
friend of Colonel Hamilton, purchased a lot in the cemetary of Sacramento, and 



190 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ular pleasure in introducing to you, as the son of your old and 
particular friend, Gen. Alexander Hamilton. As it is not known 
when you will arrive at St. Louis, or what will be your intended 
route from thence, Col. Hamilton is posted there for the purpose 
of waiting on you as soon as you shall arrive, and ascertaining from 
you, and making known to me, by what route you propose to 
return to the eastward, and when and where it will be most agree- 
able for you to afford me the happiness of seeing you and welcom- 
ing you to Illinois. 

I am, with the greatest respect and esteem, your devoted 
friend, 

Edward Coles. 
Gen. Lafayette. 

At the reception of Lafayette in Kaskaskia, Gov- 
ernor Coles made the address of welcome. It was 
admirable in style and expression, and the Governor 
on the occasion gave utterance to the ruling sentiment 
of his life. He spoke of the progress of our country's 
greatness, and the arrival of the period when the 
philanthropist might look with confidence to the uni- 
versal restoration of man to his long lost rights^ and to 
that station in the Creator's work^ and that moral eleva- 

marked the grave with granite head and foot-stones. In the polished surface of 
the head-stone he placed the following inscription: 

COL. WM. S. HAMILTON, 

SON OF 

GENERAL ALEXANDER HAMILTON, 

WAS BORN IN NEW YORK, 

AUG. 4, 1797. 

HE WAS AN EARLY SETTLER AND PROMINENT 

CITIZEN OF WISCONSIN. 

COMING TO CALIFORNIA IN 1 849, 

HE DIED HERE OCT. 9, 

1850. 

IN SIZE AND FEATURE, 

IN TALENT AND CHARACTER, 

HE MUCH RESEMBLED HIS ILLUSTRIOUS 

FATHER. 



A FRIEND ERECTS THIS STONE. 




^ 



191 

seat of 
via, and 
here for 
g away, 
e names 
ig those 
es were 
d Pope, 
Thomas 




190 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ular pleasure in introducing to you, as the son of your old and 
particular friend, Gen. Alexander Hamilton. As it is not known 
when you will arrive at St. Louis, or what will be your intended 
route from thence, Col. Hamilton is posted there for the purpose 
of waiting on you as soon as you shall arrive, and ascertaining from 
you, and making known to me, by what route you propose to 
return to the eastward, and when and where it will be most agree- 
able for you to afford me the happiness of seeing you and welcom- 
ing you to Illinois. 

I am, with the greatest respect and esteem, your devoted 
friend, 

Edward Coles. 
Gen. Lafayette. 

At the reception of Lafayette in Kaskaskia, Gov- 
ernor Coles made the address of welcome. It was 
admirable in style and expression, and the Governor 
on the occasion gave utterance to the ruling sentiment 
of his life. He spoke of the progress of our country's 
greatness, and the arrival of the period when the 
philanthropist might look with confidence to the uni- 
versal restoration of man to his long lost rights^ and to 
that station in the Creator's work, and that moral eleva- 

marked the grave with granite head and foot-stones. In the polished surface of 
the head-stone he placed the following inscription: 

COL. WM. S. HAMILTON, 

SON OF 

GENERAL ALEXANDER HAMILTON, 

WAS BORN IN NEW YORK, 

AUG. 4, 1797. 

HE WAS AN EARLY SETTLER AND PROMINENT 

CITIZEN OF WISCONSIN. 

COMING TO CALIFORNIA IN 1 849, 

HE DIED HERE OCT. 9, 

1850. 

IN SIZE AND FEATURE, 

IN TALENT AND CHARACTER, 

HE MUCH RESEMBLED HIS ILLUSTRIOUS 

FATHER. 



A FRIEND ERECTS THIS STONE. 




^ Cu^->^ ^^:^'7^:«_ c>«--^L.a:.^:.l^^-iii X^^/z.4!^^jz^ a-^u^^ 



190 ILl 

ular pleasure 
particular fr: 
when you w; 
route from t 
of waiting on 
you, and rrn 
return to the 
able for you 
ing you to II 
I am, w 
friend. 

Gen. La fay: 

At the 
ernor Cole 
admirable 
on the occc 
of his Hfe. 
greatness, 
philanthroj 
versal restoi 
that station 



marked the grav 
the head-stone hi 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 191 

tion to which he was destined.'' Though the seat of 
government had been removed from Kaskaskia, and 
the sceptre of empire which had been wielded there for 
almost a century and a half was about passing away, 
there yet resided in the town many men whose names 
have gone into the history of the State. Among those 
who participated in the reception ceremonies were 
General Edgar, Gov. Bond, Judge Nathaniel Pope, 
Elias Kent Kane, Lt. Gov. Menard, Col. Thomas 
Mather and Sidney Breese. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Valedictory Message of Governor Coles; His Tribute to 
Thomas Jefferson; His Recommendations to the Legis- 
lature; The "Black Code;" Strength of Pro-slavery 
Sentiment in the State; Overwhelmed in 1854; The 
Character of Governor Coles' Administration; Affairs 
OF the State Ably, Carefully and Conscientiously 
Administered; Extract of his Letter to Colonel 
Hamilton; Becomes a Candidate for Congress in 1831; 
His Address to the People; Beaten by Joseph Duncan, 
the Jackson Candidate; Appreciation of Governor 
Coles by Judge Gillespie and Judge Caton; Coles 
County Named after Him; Removes from the State 
AND Settles in Philadelphia in 1833; Marries Miss 
Roberts; The Charm and Happiness of his Private 
Life; His Gracious Hospitality; Interest in Good 
Works; His History of the Ordinance of 1787; Death 
in 1868. 

The valedictory message of Governor Coles was 
sent to the Legislature on the 5th of December, 1826. 
It is mainly devoted to the affairs of the State. He 
made however, a touching allusion to the deaths of 
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on the 4th of July 
preceding, ''thus sanctioning by their deaths, a day 
rendered glorious by the most important event of their 
lives, and in the history of their country." To Mr. 
Jefferson, to whom he was allied by so many ties of 
sympathy and of friendship, he paid a just and eloquent 
tribute, describing him as a "sage and a philanthropist, 
as a Statesman and a patriot, the author of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, the great political reformer to 
whose strong, bold and original genius, we are in a 
great degree indebted for our civil and religious freedom 

192 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 193 

and for our correct understanding of the rights of men and 
of nations." Mr. Jefferson's bold and outspoken 
sentiments on the subject of Slavery had challenged 
the profoundest respect and admiration of Governor 
Coles. He again earnestly appealed to the Legislature 
to put an end to the remnant of Slavery in the State 
and to "make the laws in relation to that unfortunate 
class of our fellow beings, the descendants of Africa, 
less repugnant to our political institutions and local 

situation." "It is also requisite that 

provision should be made not only for loosening the 
fetters of servitude, but for the security and protection 

of free persons of color." "To effect 

which, it is indispensable that the law should be altered, 
and so far from considering every colored person a 
Slave, unless he can procure written evidence of his 
freedom in Illinois, every man should be presumed free, 
until the contrary is made to appear." 

The "Black Code" of Illinois, the repeal of which 
Governor Coles urged so strongly and so repeatedly 
was one of the most infamous and barbarous enact- 
ments that ever disgraced a civilized State. All his 
appeals were disregarded, and it can be scarcely credited 
at this day that these disgraceful laws were not com- 
pletely repealed until after the political revolution in 
this country which followed the repeal of the Missouri 
Compromise in 1854. The truth of the matter is, that 
a pro-Slavery sentiment found a lodgment among a 
portion of the people of that day in this State, and that 
sentiment was vastly stronger from 1825 to 1854 than 
it was in 1824, when the people so emphatically voted 
down the atrocious proposition to call a convention to 



194 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

make a constitution authorizing the introduction into 
the State of the hideous institution of human Slavery. 

The administration of Governor Coles, so far as it 
is known by the record, and from other sources, was 
one of the ablest, the purest and most successful the 
State has ever had. He fully understood all the 
interests of the commonwealth, and administered its 
affairs carefully, intelligently and conscientiously. He 
gave his own personal attention to all the details of his 
office, and all his official correspondence is in his own 
handwriting. The copies of his letters were made by 
himself, and are as neatly and handsomely written as 
the originals themselves. The facsimile of the letter 
to Gen. Lafayette is a copy of the original found among 
his papers, and it is a fair specimen of the copies of all 
his letters, both official and personal, which he retained. 
Nothing can better show how carefully he watched over 
the interests of the State, nor more fully illustrate his 
ideas of official duty, than an extract of a letter, a copy 
of which I have before me, to Col. William S. Hamilton, 
dated July 26, 1826. 

In the summer of 1826 a matter came up in relation 
to an exchange of certain lands selected as Seminary 
lands. Some of these lands had been settled on before 
their selection, and valuable improvements made. The 
question was, whether the State could not select other 
lands of equal value and leave the settlers on the lands 
they had improved. Governor Coles appointed Col- 
onel Hamilton to examine the lands settled upon and 
those proposed to be substituted. In this letter of 
instructions the Governor says: 

' 'And now I must say to you, if you undertake this business 



WASHBURNES EDWARD COLES 195 

it will be expected of you that you will go in person and inspect 
the tracts which it is wished should be relinquished, as well as 
those to be substituted, and that you will take great pains to 
inform yourself of their relative value, and that you will not per- 
mit your sympathy for individuals to go too far, or to induce you 
to lose sight of, or be inattentive to the great interest the State 
has in having valuable selections made, to augment as far as 
possible the invaluable fund which is destined to contribute so 
much to the character of the State, and to the knowledge and 
character of its citizens." 

In the winter and spring of 1831, Governor Coles 
was invited by a large number of his friends to become 
a candidate for Congress at the election to take place 
in the following August. In a short "Address to the 
People of Illinois/* dated Edwardsville, May 12, 1831, 
he accepted the invitation. He did not offer himself 
as the candidate of any party, and said if elected he 
should be faithful to the trust reposed in him, and should 
vote and act on all questions agreeably to the 
known wishes of the people, and what he believed to be 
their true interests — that he would not be the creature 
of party, nor the humble follower of any man, but, 
guided by republican principles, he would endeavor to 
promote the interest of the country; in fine, that he 
would not be the follower of party or of man, but of 
principle. He stated what particular objects he would 
be in favor of, and one of which was "the subdivision 
and sale of lands in forty-acre tracts,' ' a most admir- 
able proposition, which was afterwards enacted into a 
law, which proved of immense benefit to the actual 
settler. He would also be in favor of a reduction of the 
price of the public lands, and of liberal grants and 
appropriations of them for the promotion of internal 



196 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

improvements, education, and all such objects as would 
benefit the frontier settlers, increase the population and 
advance the prosperity of the State. 

While the Governor announced himself as the can- 
didate of no party, yet he was known to be an anti- 
Jackson man, and "his candidacy drifted into an 
opposition to Joseph Duncan, the candidate of the 
Jackson party. The late Judge Breese also came out 
as a national republican candidate. Nothing, however, 
could withstand the prestige of the candidate who was 
running as a friend of the Jackson administration. 
Both Breese and Coles were overwhelmingly beaten by 
Duncan. The vote stood, thirteen thousand and 
thirty-two for Duncan, four thousand six hundred and 
fifty-nine for Breese, and three thousand three hundred 
and ninety-seven for Coles. 

The number of persons now living in the State who 
were residents during the time that Governor Coles 
was a citizen, is very small. It is certain, however, 
that those who did know him personally, and those who 
knew most in regard to him, entertained the highest 
degree of respect for his character, and gratitude for 
his services. Among those still living who were 
acquainted with Governor Coles during his residence in 
Illinois, is Judge Gillespie, to whom I have had occasion 
to refer more than once in this Paper. In a letter 
addressed to me, dated Edwardsville, February 28 th, 
1 88 1, the Judge says: 

' 'I am pleased to find that you are employed in rescuing from 
oblivion the life and character of one so deserving of fame as our 
second Governor, Edward Coles. I knew the Governor well. 
He lived in this place while he was a citizen of Illinois. He was 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 197 

a remarkable man, and devoted himself to the propagation of the 
sentiments of freedom. He was the most unrelenting foe to 
Slavery I ever knew. His time, money, everything belonging 
to him, was expended in the cause so dear to his heart. He brought 
his slaves here from Virginia, and liberated them, and gave to 
each head of a family, a tract of land within four miles of this 
place, where they settled and lived for many years. . . . 
. . . . He was unmarried while he lived in Illinois, and 
when in Edwardsville, boarded in the family of James Mason. 
His character was without spot or blemish in all the walks of life." 

The Hon. John Dean Caton, who was Judge of the 
Circuit and Supreme Courts of the State, and who by 
his long and honored service on the Bench has illus- 
trated and adorned our judicial annals, did not come 
to the State until after Governor Coles had removed 
from it. In answer to a letter from me inquiring if he 
had any reminiscences in regard to the Governor, he 
writes under date of May lo, 1881: 

"I was never personally acquainted with Governor Coles, 
but when I came to the State forty-eight years ago, his praises 
were sounded by all who had opposed, with him, the Constitu- 
tional Amendment to admit Slavery. He was recognized as the 
great leader in that fight, and for that I learned to revere his 
memory." 

Judge Caton has recently made a very able argu- 
ment before the United States District Court at Chi- 
cago. It was in a case brought against the city of his 
residence, Ottawa, on certain bonds issued by the city. 
An attempt having been made to repudiate the bonds, 
the city was sued, and Judge Caton appeared for the 
plaintiff to uphold the validity of the bonds and 
the honor of his city. The Judge dwelt largely on the 
disgrace and impolicy of repudiation, however specious 



198 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the guise might be, and referred particularly to the case 
of our State, which had upheld its faith under the most 
adverse circumstances, and paid every dollar of its 
indebtedness. I quote from his printed argument, in 
which he refers to the three great men of Illinois, one 
of whom was Governor Coles: 

"In closing this reference to the past of our State, allow me 
to say that Illinois has produced three great men, whose con- 
spicuous services will render their names immortal, and which 
should be commemorated by enduring monuments, and to whom 
we owe a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. The first 
was Edward Coles, who was Governor of the State in 1824, and 
who saved the State from the black curse of African Slavery, then 
and forever. The second was Thomas Ford, who was Governor 
in 1842, and who saved the State from the scarcely less blighting 
curse of repudiation; and the third was Abraham Lincoln, who 
saved the Union from dismemberment, and the Nation from 
destruction. Not alone either of them, for all were assisted and 
supported by other great men whose names should be scarcely 
less honored, but they were the great leaders in these great labors, 
whose talents and whose integrity lead the people to these great 
accomplishments. In all time to come posterity should bow its 
head in gratitude whenever either of these names should be 
spoken." 

After the expiration of Governor Coles' term of 
service, he continued to have his residence in Edwards- 
ville and attending to the cultivation of his farm in the 
neighborhood. He was very fond of agriculture, and 
was the founder of the first agricultural society in the 
State. Without a family, having no business to tie 
him down, and suffering from ill-health, he spent much 
time at his old home in Virginia, and in Washington, 
Philadelphia, New York and Saratoga. At what par- 
ticular time he finally removed from the State I am not 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 199 

aware, but probably in the fall of 1832. I have in my 
hands a letter addressed to him at Edwardsville, written 
by General Scott, from "Fort Armstrong, Rock Island," 
and dated August nth, 1832. The General had just 
successfully closed his campaign against Black Hawk, 
and had arrived at Rock Island from Prairie du Chien. 
As he expected to remain at Fort Armstrong for some 
fifteen days, and as at the expiration of that time he 
might have to move west against some hostile Indians, 
who were not captured with the other Indians of Black 
Hawk, he invited the Governor to make him a visit, 
and to bring with him a pair of blankets, saddle and 
bridle, and saddle-bags. 

It is no part of my purpose to continue my sketch 
of Governor Coles subsequent to his leaving the State. 
After quitting Illinois he took up his residence in Phila- 
delphia, where he had made ' 'troops of friends,' ' among 
the most distinguished and cultivated people. On the 
28th of November, 1833, he was married by Bishop 
De Lancey to Miss Sally Logan Roberts, a daughter of 
Hugh Roberts, a descendant of Hugh Roberts of 
Peullyn, Wales, who came to this country with William 
Penn, in 1682. Possessed of an ample fortune, his 
private life seems to have brought to him every charm, 
and surrounded him with every happiness. Of a very 
happy, bright and cheerful disposition, he entered 
sympathetically into the pleasures of all, and promoted 
in every possible way the happiness of all. He was an 
affectionate husband, a devoted father and a kind 
friend. Governor Coles was a very little less than six 
feet in height; of a slender build, and strongly-marked 
features. His eyes were briUiant, and his counte- 



200 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

nance — particularly when lighted up by a smile — was 
one of rare beauty. The splendid steel engraving, by 
Sartain, which will Illustrate this Paper, when printed, 
cannot but be admired. 

He always took much Interest In public affairs, and 
was in correspondence with many of the most distin- 
guished men of the time. His "History of the Ordi- 
nance of 1787," which was read as a Paper before the 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, June g, 1856, Is one 
of the most elaborate reviews of that celebrated legis- 
lation which has ever appeared. As Illinois was 
within the Territory covered by that ordinance, the 
Governor very naturally alluded to the attempt to 
make it a Slave State at the time he occupied the 
gubernatorial chair. He said: 

"I think that I shall meet with indulgence from the zeal I 
have always felt In the cause, for adding that it has ever since 
afforded me the most delightful and consoling reflections that the 
abuse I endured, the labor I performed, the anxiety I felt, were 
not without their reward; and to have it conceded by opponents 
as well as supporters, that I was chiefly instrumental in preventing 
a call of a Convention, and In making Illinois a Slave-holding 
State." 

In view of the services of Governor Coles, it was 
fitting and proper that Illinois should honor his name 
by giving it to a large and Important county — Coles 
County — organized Dec. 25, 1830, out of Clark and 
Edgar counties. 

Governor Coles died at his residence In Philadelphia, 
July 7th, 1868, at the ripe old age of eighty-two, and 
after many years of much suffering, debility and general 
feebleness. His widow, his oldest son, Edward Coles, 



WASHBURNE'S EDWARD COLES 201 

and a daughter, survive him. His youngest son died 
in February, 1862. 

Governor Coles is buried at "Woodland," near 
Philadelphia. Though his ashes do not lie mingled 
with the soil of the State he served so faithfully, and to 
which he rendered such an inestimable service in saving 
it to freedom, yet his name and his memory shall live 
in Illinois so long as the State shall have a place in 
history. 



APPENDIX 



APPENDIX 

Summons of Edward Coles to Circuit Court of Madison 

County, January 7, 1824 

[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 

The People of the State of Illinois, 

To the Sheriff of Madison county. Greeting: 

You are hereby commanded to summon Edward Coles to 

be and appear before the Circuit Court for Madison county, at 

the next term to be holden at Edwardsville at the Court House 

thereof, on the 4th Monday in the month of March next, to answer 

the County Commissioners of the County of Madison in a plea of 

Debt Two thousand Dollars which to them he owes and from 

. them he unjustly detains to their Damage Five Hundred Dollars. 

And have you then there this writ. 

Witness, Joseph Conway, Clerk of 
the said Court, at Edwardsville, this 
7th day of January in the year of our 
Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
twenty-four and of the Independence 
of the United States of America the 
forty 8th 

Joseph Conway 



Charges of County Commissioners of Madison County 

Against Edward Coles, March, 1824 

[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 

State of Illinois 

Madison County Circuit Court March Term 1824. 

The county commissioners for the County of Madison who 
sued for the use of said county, complain of Edward Coles in 
custody of the sherriff in a plea of Debt: wherein they complain 
and say that whereas by the third section of an act made by the 
people of the State of Illinois represented in the General assembly 
entitled, An Act respecting free negroes mulattoes servants and 

205 



206 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

slaves approved March 30th 18 19, it is enacted, that it shall not 
be lawful for any person or persons to bring into this state after 
the passage of this act any negro or mulatto who shall be a slave 
or held to service at the time for the purpose of emancipating or 
setting at liberty any such negro or mulatto, and any person 
or persons, who shall so bring in any such negro or mulatto for 
the purpose aforesaid, shall give a Bond to the county commis- 
sioner of the county when such slave or slaves are emancipated; 
in the penalty of one thousand dollars; conditioned that such per- 
son so emancipated by him; shall not become a charge on any 
county in this state, and every person neglecting or refusing to 
give such bond, shall forfeit and pay the sum of two hundred 
Dollars for each negro or mulatto so emancipated or set at liberty; 
to be recovered by action of Debt before any court competent to 
try the same, to be sued for in the name of the county commission- 
ers of the county, when the same shall happen, to the use of the 
county. Yet the said Edward Coles (Defendant) notwithstand- 
ing the act aforesaid on the fourth day of July in the year of Christ 
one thousand Eight hundred and nineteen did bring into this 
state (state of Illinois) and in the county of Madison aforesaid for 
the purpose of emancipating the same the following named ten 
persons of colour slaves and held to service at the time to wit 
Robert Crawford and his sister Polly Crawford, the said Robert 
being a mulatto man about five feet seven Inches high about 
twenty five years of age and the said Polly being a mulatto woman 
about five feet one inch high about sixteen or seventeen years of 
age Ralph Crawford and his wife Kate Crawford and their children, 
Betsey, Thomas, Mary and William, the said Ralph being a mu- 
latto man about five feet three inches high about forty six or seven 
years of age, and the said Kate being a mulatto woman about five 
feet two inches high about forty three or four years of age and 
the said Betsey being a young woman about sixteen or seventeen 
years of age about five feet high, and the said Thomas a boy of 
about thirteen or fourteen years of age and from his infancy has 
been weak and defective in his right arm and leg and the 
said Mary a girl from Eleven to twelve years of age and the said 
William a boy about nine years of age Thomas Cobb a Black man 
about five feet six inches high and from thirty Eight to forty 







u 



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o 
o 



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APPENDIX 207 

years of age, Nancy Gaines a black woman about five feet high 
and about sixteen or seventeen years of age whereof the said 
Edward Coles (Defendant) was master, and the said Edward 
Coles Defendant in violation of the act aforesaid on the same day 
and year aforesaid did bring into the state of Illinois the aforesaid 
or above described ten persons of colour and slaves whereof the 
said Defendant was master for the purpose of emancipating and 
setting the same at liberty and the said Defendant did then and 
there in the County aforesaid on the day and year aforesaid 
emancipate and set at liberty the above described ten persons of 
Colour slaves as aforesaid, the said Defendant not having pre- 
viously or since his setting at liberty or emancipating the same 
given his bond to the county commissioners for the county of 
Madison in the penalty of one thousand dollars in conformity 
with the provisions of the aforesaid recited act; and hath thereby 
forfeited the sum of two thousand dollars to the use of the county 
of Madison; yet the said Defendant though often requested 
refuses to pay the same. 

James Turney Atto. for 
plffs. 

Plea of Edward Coles against the Declaration of the 
County Commissioners, September, 1824 

[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 

Edward Coles 

ats. 
County Commissioners 
of Madison Co. 

And the said Defendant by Starr & Lockwood his Attys 
comes & defends the wrong & injury when &c & says that he does 
not owe to the County Commissioners of the County of Madison 
the said sum of money above demanded or any part thereof, in 
manner & form as the said Plaintiffs have above thereof com- 
plained against him & of this he puts himself upon the County 
&c. Plea traversed Issue joined Turney for plff 

And the said Defendant for a further plea in his behalf, 
according to the form of the Statute in said case made & provided 
says that the said plffs ought not to have or maintain their aforesaid 



208 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIVNS 

action thereof against him because he says that he was not guilty of 
the said supposed offences in the said declaration Mentioned or 
of any or either of them, at any time within one year next before 
the commencement of this suit, in manner & form as the said 
Plffs have above thereof complained against him, & this he is 
ready to verify wherefore he prays judgment if the said Plffs 
ought to have & maintain their aforesaid action thereof against 
him &c And the said Deft for a further plea in this behalf, accord- 
ing to the form of the Statute in such case made & provided, says 
that the Plffs ought not to have or maintain their aforesaid action 
thereof against him, because he says that he was not guilty of the 
said supposed offences in the said declaration mentioned, or of 
any or either of them at any time within three years next before 
the commencement of this suit, in manner & form as the said 
Plffs have above thereof complained agst him & this he is ready 
to verify wherefore he prays Judgment if the said Plffs ought to 
have & maintain their aforesaid action thereof against him &c — 
And the said Deft for a further plea in this behalf according 
to the form of the Statute in said case made & provided, says that 
the Plffs ought not to have or maintain their afd action thereof 
against him because he says, that he was not guilty of the sd 
supposed offences in the said declaration maintained, or of any 
or either of them at any time within three years next before the 
commencement of this suit, in manner & form as the said Plffs 
have above thereof complained against him & this he is ready to 
verify wherefore he prays judgment if the said plffs ought to have 
& maintain their action therefore agst him &c — 

Starr & Lockwood Attys, 
for Deft 
Demurrer to the foregoing three pleas 

TuRNEY for Plff — 
We join in demurrer 

Starr & Lockwood 

Verdict Against Edward Coles, September, 1824 

[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 

We the jury find for the plaintiff Two thousand 

John Howard, Foreman. 




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1/ 



\^ERDICT AGAINST F'.DWARD CoLES 

[From Records of" Circuit Court of Madison County] 



APPENDIX 209 

Reasons for New Trial Advanced by Edward Coles 
September 22, 1824 

[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 
Edward Coles 

ats 
County Commissioners 
of Madison County 
Reasons for a New Trial — 

1. Because the Court rejected the Testimony of Daniel P, 
Cook & Emanuel J. West — The object [ofl which was to explain 
the reasons & motives of the Defendant in giving the Certificates 
which were used in Evidence by the PlfF — 

2. Because the Court refused to permit Joseph Conway to 
testify whether 3 of the Negroes mentioned in Plffs declaration 
had not died long before the Commencement of this suit. 

3. Because John Howard one of the PlfFs was sworn on the 
Jury & gave a verdict agst Deft — 

4. Because the Jury have found the Deft guilty of a breach 
of a law, when the act complained of was done before the statute 
was published or generally known. 

5. Because the Verdict was contrary to Law & evidence 

StSlRR & LocKwooD Attys 
for Deft. 



Reasons for New Trial Advanced by Edward Coles 
September 24, 1824 

[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 

Edward Coles 

ats 
County Commissioners 
of Madison Co. 

Edward Coles, deft in this suit being sworn says, that John 
Howard Esq. one of the County Commissioners of the County of 
Madison was sworn as one of the Jurors in the above cause & gave 
a verdict therein — Deponent further says, that at the time the 
said Howard was sworn as a Juror as aforesaid Deponent did not 



210 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

recollect that said Howard was one of the said Commissioners 
nor did it occur to him that such was the fact untill a part of the 
testimony in the cause had been given in & further saith not 

Edward Coles 
Sworn to before me this 21st day of Sept 1824 

Joseph Conway elk 



Bond of Edward Coles to County Commissioners of Madison 

County, January 31, 1825 

[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 

Know all men by these presents that I Edward Coles am 
holden and firmly bound unto the County Commissioners for the 
county of Madison and their successors in office in the penal sum 
of one thousand dollars, for the payment of which I bind myself, 
my heirs, executors, and administrators firmly by these presents 
sealed with my seal and dated this thirty first day of January one 
thousand eight hundred and twenty five. The condition of this 
obligation is such, that whereas the said Edward Coles brought 
into the county of Madison from the State of Virginia in the spring 
of the year 18 19 certain negroes emancipated by him that is to 
say Robert Crawford, Polly Crawford, Thomas Cobb, Nancy 
Gaines, Ralph Crawford and his wife Kate and their four children, 
Betsey, Thomas, Mary & William, (of whom the said Ralph 
Crawford, Thomas Cobb and Nancy Gaines are dead,) Now, 
if the said negroes or any of them shall not become a charge on 
any county in this State, and the said Edward Coles shall secure 
and favor every county in the State of Illinois from their support 
and maintenance, and shall also further indemnify and save 
harmless the said county of Madison from any charge, or liability 
whatsoever heretofore incurred, or that may hereafter be incurred 
on account of the emancipation of said negroes, then this obli- 
gation to be void, otherwise to be in force — 
Witness 
Joseph Conway Edward Coles seal 



APPENDIX 211 

Certificate of Joseph Conway to Bond of Edward Coles, 
February 4, 1825 
[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 
State of Illinois 
Madison County 

This day personally appeared before me Joseph Conway 
clerk of the Commissioners Court for the aforesaid County of 
Madison, Edward Coles and signed and acknowledged the written 
Bond to be his act and deed. Given under my hand at Edwards- 
ville this 4th day of February 1825. 

Joseph Conway 

Plea of Edward Coles for Discontinuance of Action of 
County Commissioners, March, 1825 
[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 

Edward Coles 

adversus 
County Commissioners 

And now at this term that is to say at the March term 1825 
of the said Madison Circuit Court comes the said Coles and says 
that the said plaintiffs ought not further to have and maintain 
their action aforesaid against him because he says that since the 
last continuance of this court to wit on the 31st day of January last 
and within 60 days after the passage of the act of the General 
Assembly of the State of Illinois entitled an "An act to amend 
an act entitled an act respecting free negroes, mulattoes, servants, 
and slaves approved 30th March 18 19, he the said Coles signed 
sealed, and delivered to the said county Commissioners his certain 
bond in the penal sum of $1,000 and which bond is agreeably to 
the provisions of the said act of the 30th of March 18 19 and to 
which bond there is annexed a certain condition that if certain 
negroes therein named and which were the same negroes in the 
declaration of the plaintiffs mentioned, should not become a 
charge on any county in the State of Illinois, and the said Coles 
should secure and save every county in the said State from their 
support and maintainance, and should also indemnify and save 
harmless the said county of Madison from all charge and liability 



212 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

whatsoever incurred before that time or which might thereafter 
be incurred on account of the emancipation of the negroes named 
in the declaration of the said plaintiffs, then said bond was to be 
void, which bond with the condition thereto annexed the said 
Edward Coles brings here into court. And the said Coles further 
says that since the 3d day of January last he has often offered to 
pay up all the costs of this suit, and more particularly that he 
did on the 24th day of this present month of March offer to pay 
and did tender to the said plaintiffs all the costs of this suit but 
they did refuse to accept or receive the sum, all which he is ready 
to verify — 

H. Starr for plffs — 



Plea of Edward Coles for Recording Bill of Exceptions, 

March, 1825 
[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 

Edward Coles 

adversus 
County Commissioners March term 1825 

Be it remembered that on this day being the 12th day of the 
court the above named deft Edward Coles moved the court to 
set aside the verdict rendered in this cause at the last term and 
award him a new trial in order to enable him to plead the act 
passed at the last session of the legislature of the State of Illinois 
entitled "An act to amend an act respecting free Negroes, Mulat- 
toes, servants and slaves, and offered in court the following plea 
to wit (here copy it) but the court overruled the motion, for a 
new trial & would not permit the plea to be filed to which opinion 
of the court in overrulling said motion the deft by his council 
excepts and prays this his bill of exception to be signed sealed and 
made part of the record 

Saml McRoberts seal 

Judge of the Circuit Court 
of the 2nd judicial circuit 



APPENDIX 213 

Bill of Exceptions Advanced by Edward Coles, March, 1825 
[Records of Circuit Court of Madison County] 

Edward Coles 

adversus 
County Commissioners 

Be it remembered that on the trial of this cause the defendant 
offered to give in evidence and prove to the jury that three of the 
negroes mentioned in the declaration of the plaintiffs, had departed 
this life sometime before the commencement of this suit, but the 
testimony being objected to, the court sustained the objection, 
and would not permit the proof to be made. — Joseph Conway 
clerk of the county commissioners court was called and sworn as 
a witness, and was asked if the county commissioners had ever 
directed or requested him as their clerk to inform the defendant 
that no bond had ever been executed as required by the Statute, 
and to require him to give bond, which evidence the Court would 
not permit to be given. 

Daniel P. Cook was called and sworn as a witness, who testi- 
fied that he was an Attorney at Law he was then asked if any 
conversation took place between him & deft before the date of the 
certificates & whether he advised Deft to execute the certificates 
given in evidence by Plffs. in order to protect the negroes & enable 
them to hire themselves which evidence the Court overruled — 
and also to prove by said Cook all the circumstances & conversa- 
tions between witness & Deft — which induced & led to the execu- 
tion of said certificates which was also overruled — The record 
to state that the Plff gave in evidence the Certificates of which 
the following one is a true Copy (here Copy one of Certificates.) 

John Reynolds seal 

Opinion of Supreme Court of Illinois in Suit of Edward 
Coles versus County of Madison, June, 1826 

[Breeze^ i: 1 54-1 61] 

Edward Coles, Plaintiff in Error, v. The County of Madison, 

Defendant in Error. 

Error to Madison. 

The legislature have the power, by an act of their own, to release a 

penalty accruing to a county, after verdict but before judg- 



214 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

merit. Such an act is not unconstitutional, it being neither 
an ex post /ado law, or law impairing the obligation of con- 
tracts, and it can be pleaded, puis darrien continuance. 
Counties are public corporations, and can be changed, modified, 
enlarged, restrained, or repealed, to suit the ever varying 
exigencies of the state — they are completely under legislative 
control. 

Opinion of the Court by Chief Justice Wilson.* — This is an 
action of debt brought by the county commissioners of Madison 
county, for the use of the county, against Edward Coles, for 
$2,000, as a penalty for bringing into the county, and setting at 
liberty, ten negro slaves, without giving a bond, as required by an 
act of the legislature of 18 19. To this action. Coles plead the 
statute of limitations, which plea was demurred to, and the demur- 
rer sustained by the court, and the parties went to trial upon the 
issue of nil debet. A verdict was found against Coles, at the 
September term, 1824, of the Madison circuit court, but no 
judgment was rendered upon it, till September, 1825, the cause 
having been continued till that time, under advisement, upon a 
motion for a new trial. In January, 1825, the legislature passed 
an act releasing all penalties incurred under the act of 1819, 
(including those sued for,) upon which Coles was prosecuted. 

This act Coles plead puis darrien continuance^ and renewed 
the motion for a new trial, but the court overruled the motion, 
and rejected the plea, and rendered judgment for the plaintiffs. 

There are several causes assigned for error, but the one 
principally relied upon is, that the court rejected the defendant's 
plea, (as a bar to the further prosecution of the suit,) alleging a 
compliance on his part with the act of January, 1825. 

The only question for the decision of the court, from this 
statement of the case, is, was the legislature competent to release 
the plaintiff in error from the penalty imposed for a violation of 
the act of 1 8 19, after suit brought, but before judgment rendered? 
or in other words, could they, by a repeal of the act imposing the 
penalty, bar a recovery of it? If the legislature can not pass an 
act of this description, it must be because it would be in violation 
of that provision of the constitution of the United States, (and 

*Justice LoCKWooD, having been counsel in this cause, gave no opinion. 



APPENDIX 215 

which has in substance been adopted into ours,) which denies to 
the state legislatures the right to pass an ex post facto law, or law 
impairing the obligation of contracts. This is the only provision 
in that instrument, that has any bearing upon the present ques- 
tion. 

Is the law of 1825, then, an ex post facto law, or does it impair 
the obligation of a contract? The term ex post facto is technical, 
and must be construed according to its legal import, as understood 
and used by the most approved writers upon law and government. 
Judge Blackstone says, "an ex post facto law is where, after an 
action (indifferent in itself) is committed, the legislature then, for 
the first time, declare it to have been a crime, and inflict a punish- 
ment upon the person who committed it." This definition is 
familiar to every lawyer, and I am not aware of any case in either 
the English or American courts, in which its correctness is denied. 

It appears from the Federalist, a work which has been 
emphatically styled the text-book of the constitution, that the 
term was understood and used in this sense by the framers of that 
instrument. The authors of this work were among the ablest 
statesmen and civilians of the age, — two of them were members of 
the convention that framed the constitution, and would not have 
been mistaken in the meaning of the terms used in it. Judge 
Tucker, in his notes on the Commientaries of Blackstone, also 
adopts it as the true one, and it is evident from the tenor of his 
comments upon the principles contained in that work, that if there 
had been any doubt of the correctness of this one, that it would 
not have been passed in silence, much less would it have received 
his approbation. 

But that the term ex post facto is applicable only to laws 
relating to crimes, pains and penalties, does not rest upon the 
bare acquiescence of the courts, or the authority of elementary 
writers. It has received a judicial exposition by the highest 
tribunal in the nation. The decision of the Supreme Court of 
the United States, in the case of Calder and wife, v. Bull and wife, 
3 Dallas, 386, must be considered as having put this question to 
rest. The point decided in that case was, as to the validity of an 
act of the legislature of Connecticut, which had a retrospective 
operation, but which did not relate to crimes. All the state 



216 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

courts, through which that case passed, decided in favor of the 
validity of the law. It was then taken up to the supreme court 
of the United States, where the judgment was affirmed. The 
court was clearly of opinion, that the prohibition in the United 
States constitution was confined to laws, relating to crimes, pains 
and penalties. Judge Chase, in delivering his opinion, says, 
"every ex post facto law must, necessarily, be retrospective, but 
every retrospective law is not an ex post facto law; the former 
only, are prohibited by the constitution." Patterson, Justice, said, 
"he had an ardent desire to have extended the provision in the 
constitution to retrospective laws in general," and concludes his 
remarks by saying, "but on full consideration, I am convinced 
that ex post facto laws must be limited in the manner already 
expressed." Sergeant's Constitutional Law, 347. No higher 
evidence, I believe, can be adduced, of the existence of any princi- 
ple of law, than is afforded by these authorities, that the law under 
consideration is not an ex post facto one. It is considered that it 
is retrospective, and that as a general principle of legislation it is 
unwise to enact such laws; yet it is not the province of a court to 
declare them void. No prohibition to the exercise of such a 
power by the legislature is contained in the constitution of the 
United States or of this state, and it is an incontrovertible princi- 
ple, that all powers which are not denied them by one or other of 
those instruments, are granted. The next inquiry is, does this 
law violate the obligation of a contract? 

This question is easily answered. A contract is an agree- 
ment between two or more, to do, or not to do, a particular act — 
nothing like this appears in the present case. If a judgment has 
been obtained, the law might, by implication, raise a contract 
between the parties; but until judgment, the defendant is regarded 
as a tortfeasor; he is prosecuted upon a penal statute for a tort; the 
action would die with him, which would not happen in the case of 
a contract. It is idle, therefore, to talk of a contract between the 
plaintiff and defendant, and it is only between the contracting 
parties that the legislature is prohibited from interfering. But in 
this case there is no contract between any parties, and all reason- 
ing founded upon the idea of a contract, is nugatory. But its 
said, the legislature could not pass this law, because the plaintiffs 



APPENDIX 217 

have acquired a vested interest in the penalty, by commencing 
suit, which can not be taken away. 

The authorities relied upon to support this position, are not 
apposite. The decisions in those cases, turned on the construction 
of the laws, and not on the authority of the legislature to pass 
them. In the case of Coleman v. Shower, (2 Show.,) which was an 
action brought after the passage of the statute of frauds and per- 
juries, upon a marriage promise made by parol, the judges said, 
they believed the intention of the makers of that statute was only 
to provide for the future, and not to annul parol promises which 
were good and valid in law, at the time they were made. In the 
case of Couch qui tarn v. Jeffries, (4 Burrow, 2460,) Lord Mansfield 
placed his opinion on the intention of the legislature, which, he 
believed, was not to do injustice to the plaintiff, by subjecting him 
to costs. So, too, in Dash v. Fan Kleeck, 7 Johns., 577, the same 
ground was assumed. The court did not intend to decide that 
the legislature could not pass a retrospective law, but that the one 
under consideration was not necessarily retrospective, and there- 
fore ought not to receive that construction. In this opinion, the 
court was divided three to two. But had the plaintiffs a vested 
interest in the penalty before judgment? a vested right is one 
perfect in itself, and which does not depend upon a contingency, or 
the commencement of suit. Suit is the means of enforcing, or 
acquiring possession of a previously vested interest, but the com- 
mencement of suit does not of itself, even in a qui tarn, or popular 
action, vest a right in the penalty sued for. The only consequence 
that results from the commencement of a popular action is, that 
it prevents another person from suing, and the executive from 
releasing the penalty. Blackstone, (vol. 2, p. 442,) in speaking of 
the means of vesting a right in chattel interests, says, "and here 
we must be careful to distinguish between property, the right of 
which is before vested in the party, and of which only possession 
is recovered by suit or action, and property, to which a man before 
had no determinate title, or certain claim, but he gains as well the 
right, as the possession, by the process and judgment of the law. 
Of the former sort, are debts and choses in action." In these 
cases the right is vested in the creditor by virtue of the contract, 
and the law only gives him a remedy to enforce it. "But," 



218 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

continues he, " there is also a species of property to which a man 
has not any claim or title, whatsoever, till after suit commenced 
and judgment obtained in a court of law, where before judgment 
had, no one can say he has any absolute property, either in posses- 
sion or in action; of this sort are, first', such penalties as are given 
by particular statutes, to be recovered in an action popular." 
Here is an authority directly in point. In the present case no 
judgment had been rendered previous to the passage of the law 
releasing the penalty, consequently, no right to the penalty had 
vested in the plaintiffs, which this law directs. The right which 
the plaintiffs had acquired by the commencement of the suit was, 
according to Blackstone, "an inchoate, imperfect degree of prop- 
erty," which required the judgment of the court to consummate, 
and render it a vested right. Before judgment in a popular action, 
the property in the penalty is imperfect and contingent, liable to be 
destroyed by a repeal of the statute upon which suit is brought. 
This principle is settled in a variety of cases; in that of Seaton v. 
The United States, 5 Cranch, p. 283, Judge Marshall, in delivering 
the opinion of the court says, "That it has been long settled upon 
general principles, that after the expiration or repeal of a law, no 
penalty can be imposed or punishment inflicted, for violations of 
the law committed while it was in force." The same point was 
decided in the case of the Schooner Rachael v. The United States, 
6 Cranch, 329; and in the case of the United States v. Ship Helen, 
6 Cranch, 203, the doctrine is fully settled that, even after judg- 
ment of condemnation in rem for a breach of the embargo laws, 
provided the party appeals, or obtains a writ of error, he may avail 
himself of a statute repealing the penalty enacted subsequent to 
such condemnation. In The People v. Coleman, the court unani- 
mously awarded a new trial, in order that the defendant might 
avail himself of a defense given by a statute passed subsequent to 
the commission of the offense; and in the case of the Common- 
wealth V. Duane, i Binney, 601, the defendant had been indicted 
at common law for a libel: after a verdict, and before judgment, 
the legislature passed a law that, "after the passage of this act 
no person shall be prosecuted criminally for a libel." The supreme 
court refused to give judgment on the verdict. The terms of this 
act were not retrospective, yet the court considered it so, and must 



APPENDIX 219 

necessarily have acknowledged the power of the legislature to pass 
such laws. (See also Sergeant's constitutional law, 348; i Cranch, 
109, and 3 Dall., 279.) These cases require no comment. They 
are directly on the point under consideration, and have settled the 
doctrine, that a repeal of a law imposing a penalty, after verdict 
for the penalty, is a bar to a judgment on the verdict. The court 
has no longer any jurisdiction of the case. There is no law in force 
upon which they can pronounce judgment. If then, the legislature 
can, by a total repeal of the law of 18 19, defeat a recovery for an 
infraction of it before judgment, can they not by the act of 1825, 
release all penalties incurred anterior to its passage? There is no 
rule of law which denies them the power of doing that indirectly, 
which they may do directly. In effect and in principle, there is no 
difference, and the power to do the greater act, includes the less. 
It is said that the king can not remit an informer's interest 
in a popular action after suit brought; this is no doubt true, but 
it is equally true that the parliament can. It is not pretended 
that the executive could remit the penalty in this case, but that 
the legislature may. Neither the constitution of the United 
States, or of this state, contain any prohibition to the exercise of 
such a power by the legislature, and their powers have no limits 
beyond what are imposed by one or other of those instruments, 
nor is it necessary that they should. They form an ample barrier 
against tyranny and oppression in every department of the govern- 
ment, and secure to the citizens every right in as perfect a manner 
as is compatible with a state of government. If they should, by 
mistake, or from any other cause, attempt the exercise of a power 
incompatible with the constitution, the obligation of a court to 
resist it is imperative. But "it is not in doubtful cases, or upon 
slight implications, that the court should pronounce the legislature 
to have transcended their powers. In the present case, I am 
clearly of opinion, they have not done so. The law under con- 
sideration is not an ex post facto law, because the generally received 
and well settled import of the term is not applicable to a law of this 
character. It impairs the obligation of no contract, for the con- 
clusive reason that no contract ever existed, and for the same 
reason it can not be said to destroy a vested right. 2 Dall., 304. 
I Cranch, 109. 



220 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The objection that this law works injustice to the county, is 
not well founded. All the rights of the county, contemplated to 
be secured by the law of 1819, are secured by this. 

The object of the law of 18 19 was to compel persons bringing 
slaves into this state for the purpose of emancipation, to give bond 
for their maintenance. This law requires the bond to be given, 
which has been done, and all costs of suit and damages incurred 
in any case to be paid, which the defendant has also offered to 
do in this case. The county, then, is secured, not only against 
prospective injury, but against all damages heretofore sustained. 
There is no ground of complaint, then, on the part of the county; 
they are secured in their rights, and lose nothing. In another 
point of view which this case is susceptible of, I am satisfied that 
the law under consideration is not unconstitutional. On an 
inquiry into the different kinds of corporations, their uses and 
objects, it will appear that a plain line of distinction exists between 
such as are of a private and such as are of a public nature, and 
form a part of the general police of the state. Those that are of a 
private nature, and not general to the whole community, the 
legislature can not interfere with. The grant of incorporation is 
a contract. But all public incorporations which are established as 
a part of the police of the state, are subject to legislative control, 
and may be changed, modified, enlarged, restrained, or repealed, 
to suit the ever varying exigencies of the state. Counties are 
corporation of this character, and are, consequently, subject to 
legislative control. 

Were it otherwise, the object of their incorporation would 
be defeated. It can not be doubted that Madison county, as a 
county, might be stricken out of existence, and her interest in a 
popular action thereby defeated. Upon what principle, then, 
can it be contended, that the legislature can not remit a penalty 
in a popular action brought for her benefit? Every view I have 
been able to take of this interesting and important subject leads 
to the conclusion that the legislature have the constitutional power 
to pass the act of 1825, releasing Coles, upon the terms prescribed 
in that act. 

The judgment of the court below must be reversed, and the 



APPENDIX 221 

proceedings remanded, with directions to the circuit court to 
receive the defendant's plea upon his paying costs, &c. {a) (i) 

Judgment reversed. 

Starr, for defendant in error. 

Turney and Reynolds, for defendant in error. 



Notice of Sale of Public Lands, September 30, 1820 

[Edwardsville Spectator, October 3, 1820. Photostats in Illinois Historical 
Survey, University of Illinois, from originals in Library of Congress] 

To THE Public. 

On Tuesday last we, the Register and Receiver of the Land- 
Office at Edwardsville, made known that the public sale of lands, 
advertised by the President's proclamation of the i8th of April 
last, would commence at Edwardsville on Monday the 2d, and 
continue until Saturday the 21st of October. This was in pur- 
suance of the proclamation, which states that "each sale shall 
continue three weeks and no longer." But it would seem, by a 
subsequent law, viz: "An act making further provision for the 
sale of public lands," approved April 24, 1820, "that the several 
public sales authorized by this act shall respectively be kept open 
for two weeks and no longer." 

Now as it is thought that this is one of the public sales con- 
templated by this act, it is necessary to correct our former notice, 
by informing the public that the sale will, in pursuance of the 5 th 
section of the said law, continue two weeks only; and that the 
lands will be offered for sale, as near as possible, in the manner and 
on the days following, viz: 

On Monday, October 2, townships 11 and 12, north of range i 
west. 

On Tuesday, October 3, townships 11 and 12, north of range 2 
west. 

On Wednesday, October 4, townships 11 and 12, north of 
range 3 west. 

On Thursday, October 5, townships 11 and 12 north of ranges 
4 and 5 west. 

Friday, October 6, townships 11 and 12, north of range 6 
west, and township 6, north of range 7 west. 



222 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

On Saturday, October 7, townships 7, 8, and 9, north of range 
7 west. 

On Monday, October 9, townships 10, 11, and 12, north of 
range 7 west. 

On Tuesday, October 10, townships 6, 7, 8, and 9, north of 
range 8 west. 

On Wednesday, October 11, townships 10, 11, and 12, north 
of 8 west, and township 6, north of range 9 west. 

On Thursday, October 12, townships 7, 8, 9, and 10, north of 
range 9 west. 

On Friday, October 13, townships 11 and 12, north of range 9 
west, and townships 6 and 7 north of range 10 west. 

On Saturday, October 14, townships 8, 9, and 10, north of 
range 10 west. 

The sale will commence every morning at 9'oclock. 

Edward Coles, 
Ben. Stephenson. 
Edwardsvi/k, Sept. 30, 1820. 



Coles to Crawford, November 10, 1820 

[American State Papers, Public Lands, 3: 476-485] 
Land Office at Edwardsville, November 10, 1820. 
Sir: 

In compliance with an act of Congress entitled "An act for 
the relief of the inhabitants of the village of Peoria, in the State 
of Illinois," I have the honor to transmit to you a report of seventy 
claims to lots in Peoria, and the substance of the evidence in 
support thereof, which have been received, and now remain on 
file in my office; to which I must add my regrets at the insurmount- 
able difficulties I have met with in complying with a provision 
of this law which requires me to make out a list of such claims 
as, in my opinion, ought to be confirmed. The law not having 
defined the nature of the claims intended to be confirmed, nor 
prescribed any rule of adjudication, nor referred to any laws or 
usages by which I was to be governed in forming an opinion, I 
have been at a loss to determine upon what principles to decide, 
and have, therefore, been compelled to omit making out a list of 



APPENDIX 223 

such claims as, in my opinion, ought to be confirmed. I have, 
however, added to the report a tabular statement showing at one 
view the character of all and each of the claims from which, 
after having decided what date or length of possession shall give 
a title to the occupant, it will be easy to select the particular 
claims which should be confirmed. 

Believing that the chief object of Congress in passing the law 
was to obtain information as to the nature of the claims to lots in 
Peoria, I have endeavored to collect all the information which 
could be obtained, and to transcribe it in detail in the report of 
evidence herewith transmitted. And to guard as far as possible 
against inaccuracies or frauds, and to obtain as full and correct 
information as practicable, I desired that the testimony should 
be taken in my presence, except where advanced age or infirmity, 
or the remoteness of the witnesses, rendered their attendance at 
my office inconvenient. With a few exceptions, all the deposi- 
tions have been thus taken, and the evidence, though sometimes 
contradictory, and no doubt often inaccurate as to dates, will, in 
general, be found as consistent as could reasonably have been 
expected, considering the length of time which has elapsed, and 
the illiterate character of most of the deponents. 

The old village of Peoria was situated on the northwest shore 
of Lake Peoria, about one mile and a half above the lower ex- 
tremity or outlet of the lake. This village had been inhabited by 
the French previous to the recollection of any of the present genera- 
tion. About the year 1778 or 1779, the first house was built in 
what was then called La Ville de Maillet, afterwards the New 
village of Peoria, and of late the place has been known by the name 
of Fort Clark, situated about one mile and a half below the old 
village, immediately at the lower point or outlet of lake Peoria. 
The situation being preferred in consequence of the water being 
better, and its being thought more healthy, the inhabitants grad- 
ually deserted the old village, and, by the year 1796 or 1797, had 
entirely abandoned it, and removed to the new village. 

The inhabitants of Peoria consisted generally of Indian 
traders, hunters, and voyagers, and had formed a link of connection- 
between the French residing on the waters of the great lakes and 
the Mississippi river. From that happy facility of adapting them- 



224 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

selves to their situation and associates, for which the French are 
so remarkable, the inhabitants of Peoria lived generally in harmony 
with their savage neighbors. It would seem, however, that, about 
the year 178 1, they were induced to abandon the village from the 
apprehension of Indian hostility; but soon after the peace of 1783, 
they again returned, and continued to reside there until the 
autumn of the year 18 12, when they were forcibly removed from 
it, and the place destroyed by a Captain Craig, of the Illinois 
militia, on the ground, as it was said, that he and his company 
of militia were fired on in the night while at anchor in the boats 
before the village, by Indians, with whom the inhabitants were 
suspected by Craig to be too intimate and friendly. 

The inhabitants of Peoria, it would appear, from all I can 
learn, settled there without any grant or permission from the 
authority of any Government; that the only title they had to their 
land was derived from possession, and that the only value attached 
to it, grew out of the improvements placed upon it; that each 
person took to himself such portion of unoccupied land as he 
wished to occupy and cultivate, and made it his by incorporating 
his labor with it; but as soon as he abandoned it his title was 
understood to cease with his possessions and improvements, and 
it reverted to its natural state, and was liable again to be improved 
and possessed by any one who should think proper. This, to- 
gether with the itinerant character of the inhabitants, will account 
for the number of persons who will frequently be found, from the 
testimony contained in the report, to have occupied the same lot, 
many of whom, it will be seen, present conflicting claims. 

As is usual in French villages, the possessions in Peoria con- 
sisted generally of village lots, on which they erected their build- 
ings and made their gardens, and of out-lots or fields in which 
they cultivated grain, &c. The village lots contained in general 
about one-half of an arpent of land; the out-lots or fields were of 
various sizes, depending upon the industry or means of the owner 
to cultivate more or less land. As neither the old nor new village 
of Peoria were ever formally laid out, nor had defined limits 
assigned them, it is impossible to have of them an accurate map. 
I have, however, sketched off one [see plate 2, fig. 3;]^ founded on 
' This plate does not appear in American State Papers, Public Lands, v. 3 



APPENDIX 225 

the testimony received in support of the claims, and from the 
information obtained from the most intelligent of the former 
inhabitants of the place; and though I am aware of its inaccuracy, 
yet I am induced to forward it along with the report, as it will 
tend to show the claims, and elucidate the testimony in support 
of them. I have not been able to ascertain with precision on 
what particular quarter sections of the military survey these 
claims are situated. It is believed, however, that the greater 
part of the land covered both by the old and new villages are in 
fractional quarter sections, and that the out-lots or fields are 
included in quarter sections which have been granted as bounty 
lands to the soldiers of the late war. 

I am, very respectfully, 

Edward Coles, 
Register of the Land Office at Edwardsville. 



To William H, Crawford, 

Secretary of the Treasury of the U. S. 
Report: 

In obedience to an act of Congress, entitled "An act for the 
relief of the inhabitants of the village of Peoria, in the State of 
Illinois," approved May 15, 1820, the Register of the Land Office 
at Edwardsville has the honor of laying before the Secretary of 
the Treasury the following report of claims, and the substance 
of the evidence in support thereof, which have been received, and 
now remain on file in his office. 

No. I. Eticnne Bernard claims a lot in the village of Peoria, 
containing about one arpent of land, situate about forty or fifty 
yards south of the lot of Joseph Graveline, and bounded east- 
wardly by a road or street, separating it from the lower part of 
lake Peoria; southwardly by a road separating it from a lot occu- 
pied by John Baptiste Maillet, and westwardly and northwardly 
by commons or prairie. 

Proof. Tousant Soulard and Joseph Graveline testify, on 
oath, that Etienne Bernard improved and cultivated a lot of one 
or two arpents of land in Peoria, which they describe as above, 
about the year 1778, and continued to cultivate the same for about 



226 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ten years, when he was driven off the premises by the depredations 
of the Indians. 

Re?nark. The evidence in this case was not taken in the pres- 
ence of the Register; the deponents being (it was said) too old 
and infirm to attend at his office. Judging from its situation, the 
above lot must have been afterwards built upon and occupied by 
Francis Wilette, and now claimed by Louis Pilette. See claim 
No. II. 

No. 1. Augustine Roque claims a lot in Peoria, containing 
about one arpent of land, and bounded northwardly by a lot 
occupied by John Baptiste Maillet, eastwardly by a road separat- 
ing it from the Illinois river, and southwardly and westwardly by 
the prairie. 

Proof. Etienne Bernard testifies, on oath, that Augustine 
Roque, deceased, did, the year before the conquest of the country 
by Colonel Clark, build a house on and improve the above described 
lot in Peoria, which lot contained about one arpent of land; and 
that the said Roque continued to reside thereon for ten or twelve 
years, when he was driven from it by the depredations of the 
Indians. And the said Bernard further testifies that the above 
named Augustine Roque, who claims this lot, is the son of the late 
Augustine Roque of Peoria. And Tousant Soulard testifies, on 
oath, that one Augustine Roque did settle and cultivate (but at 
what time is not stated) a lot described as above in Peoria, and 
continued to reside on the same for at least ten years, when he 
was forced to remove by the depredations of the savages. 

Remark. The above described lot must have been after- 
wards improved and cultivated; and it is probable it covered a 
part of the land embraced by the lots which are now claimed by 
Forsyth and Mette. See claims. No. 7, and No. 14. 

No. 3. — Gabriel Latreille, as guardian of Charlotte Troge, 
who has lost her reason, and who was wife to Pierre Troge, de- 
ceased, and daughter of the late Antoine Saint Francis, claims a 
lot containing about two arpents of lands situated about two 
miles above Fort Clark, and near the old fort of Peoria, and 
bounded eastwardly by lake Peoria, northwardly by a lot of 
Francis Novelle, (or Lovel,) southwardly by Pascal Chevalier, and 
westwardly by prairie. 



APPENDIX 227 

Proof. Baptiste Graza and Charlotte Lonigo testify, on oath, 
that Antoine St. Francis, deceased, did settle and cultivate a lot 
containing near two arpents of land, situated and bounded as 
above described, and, to the best of their recollection, resided on 
the same, above twelve years, when he was driven from the prem- 
ises by the depredations of the Indians, which they state was, 
to the best of their recollection, about forty years since. 

Remark. The evidence in this case was not taken in the pres- 
ence of the Register, the deponents being very old and infirm. 
This lot, like the two preceding ones, must have been covered 
land, which has been since improved and occupied by others; 
but who now claims it, it is impossible to say with precision. 

No. 4. — The heirs of Gabriel Cerre, by their agent Pascal L. 
Cerre, claim, under Louis Chatellerean, in the old village of 
Peoria, a double lot of one hundred and sixty feet in front, by 
three hundred feet in depth, (French measure,) bounded on the 
north by a street separating it from a lot occupied by Pierre La 
Vassieur, dit Chamberlain; on the east by a street separating it 
from a lot of John Baptiste Emelin; on the south by a street 
separating it from the lots of Parent and Sibinger; and west by 
the cultivated lands of the old village of Peoria. 

Proof. Hyacinthe St. Cyr testifies, on oath, that Louis 
Chatellerean, in the year 1778, built a house on, and cultivated 
the above described lot in the old village of Peoria, and continued 
to occupy the same until the year 1781, when he, and all the in- 
habitants of Peoria, were induced to leave the place from fear of 
Indian hostility; but that he, Chatellerean, returned to Peoria 
soon after the peace of 1783, and continued to reside on the said 
lot until his death, (the year of his death he, St. Cyr, could not 
recollect,) after which, the said lot was occupied by one Chorette 
and his wife, Marie Josephe Tieriereau; and he, St. Cyr, well 
recollects that the said lot was afterwards sold at auction by 
Chatellerean's administrators, and bought by Gabriel Cerre, and 
that the said lot contained about one arpent of land. Marie 
Josephe Tieriereau testifies, on oath, that in the year 1795 she 
removed to Peoria, and settled on a lot, the property of Louis 
Chatellerean, in the upper town, which she described as above. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by Louis Chatellerean, as 



228 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the son of the late Louis Chatellerean of Peoria. See claim No. 6. 
No. 5. — The heirs of Gabriel Cerre, by their agent Pascal L. 
Cerre, claim an out-lot or field situated immediately in the rear 
of, and adjoining to, the last described lot. 

Proof. Hyacinthe St. Cyr testifies, on oath, that, previous 
to the military expedition commanded by Captain Montgomery, 
which Colonel Clark sent up to Peoria in the year 1780, he well 
recollects seeing Louis Chatellerean cultivate an out-lot or field 
in the rear of, and adjoining to, the lot on which he lived in Peoria, 
and to the best of his (St. Cyr's) recollection, the said lot or field 
contained between thirty and forty arpents of land, which the said 
Chatellerean continued to cultivate until his death, after which 
it was occupied for a time by one Chorette and his wife, Marie 
Josephe Tieriereau, and then sold by Chatellerean's administra- 
tors, and bought by Gabriel Cerre; he, St. Cyr, could not recollect 
at what time Chatellerean died, or how long Chorette and his 
wife lived on the said lot. Marie Josephe Tieriereau, testifies, 
on oath, that she well recollects that, about the year 1795, Louis 
Chatellerean had in his possession, and cultivated a certain lot 
or portion of land in a common field, which she describes as lying 
to the west, in the rear of his town lot; the size of the lot or portion 
of land is not stated by her. 

Remark. The quantity of land contained in this out-lot or 
field is not stated by the claimants. 

No. 6. — Louis Chatellerean claims a lot in the old village of 
Peoria, containing about two arpents of land, and bounded north- 
wardly by a street, eastwardly by a street, southwardly by a lot 
of Willette, and westwardly by a field. 

Proof. Pascal L. Cerre testifies, on oath, that he well knows 
that Louis Chatellerean resided on a lot in the old village of Peoria, 
from the year 1790 to the year 1795, when the said Chatellerean 
died on the said lot, which was bounded on the north by a street 
which separated it from the lot of Pierre Lavassieur, dit Cham- 
berlain, on the east by a street, and on the west by a common 
field. 

Remarks. This lot is also claimed by the heirs of Gabriel 
Cerre. See claim No. 4. 

No. 7. — Thomas Forsyth claims a lot of three hundred feet 



APPENDIX 229 

in front, by three hundred feet in depth, French measure, in the 
village of Peoria, and bounded eastwardly by a street, separating 
it from the Illinois river, northwardly by a cross street, westwardly 
by a back street, and southwardly by a lot claimed by Jacques 
Mett^. 

Proof. Hypolite Maillet testifies., on oath, that he is now 
about forty-two or forty-three years of age, and he always under- 
stood he had been born in a stockaded fort which stood on the 
above described lot, in the new village of Peoria, and that his 
father, John Baptiste Maillet, had lived on the said lot for a long 
time. And Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, in like manner, 
testifies that, when he first went to live in Peoria, in the year 
1790, he found John Baptiste Maillet occupying and cultivating 
the above described lot. And further, both Maillet and Cham- 
berlain testify, that the said John Baptiste continued to live on, 
and cultivate the said lot until he was killed, in the year 1801; 
after which they understood the said lot was sold to one John M. 
Coursoll, by whom it was sold to the above named Thomas 
Forsyth, who continued to occupy and cultivate the said lot until 
the year 18 12, when the inhabitants were expelled from Peoria 
by a Captain Craig of the Illinois militia. 

Remark. A part of this lot must have been embraced by the 
lot claimed by Augustine Roque. See claim No. 1. 

No. 8. — Thomas Forsyth claims a lot in Peoria of three 
hundred feet square, French measure, and bounded to the east by a 
street separating it from the last described lot; to the north 
by a cross street, to the west by unoccupied land, and to the 
south by a lot claimed by Jacques Mette. 

Proof. Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, testifies, on oath, 
that he went to live in Peoria in the year 1790, when he found 
John Baptiste Maillet cultivating the above described lot; and 
Hypolite Maillet testifies, on oath, that he is now about forty-two 
or forty-three years of age, and that he recollects that his father 
John Baptiste Maillet cultivated the above described lot for a 
long time; and both Chamberlain and Maillet testify, that the 
same John Baptiste Maillet continued to cultivate the said lot until 
he was killed, in the year 1801, after which they understood it 
was sold to one John M. Coursoll, who, they also understood. 



230 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

sold it to Thomas Forsyth, who continued to cultivate the same 
as a garden until the inhabitants were expelled from Peoria bv 
Captain Craig, in the year 1812. 

No. 9. — Thomas Forsyth claims an out-lot or field, containing 
twenty arpents of land, situated about two miles southwardly 
from the village of Peoria, at the river Gatinan, now called Kick- 
apoo creek. 

Proof. Jacques Mette and Felix Fountain testify, on oath, 
that Thomas Forsyth, in the year 1806, made the above described 
lot or field, which, to the best of their recollection, contained about 
fifteen or sixteen arpents of land; and Mette well recollects that 
Forsyth cultivated the said field at least two years. 

No. 10. — Thomas Forsyth claims an out-lot or field, contain- 
ing about twenty arpents of land, situated in the Little prairie, 
about two miles from Peoria. 

Proof. Jacques Mette and Felix Fountain testify, on oath, 
that Thomas Forsyth commenced the improvement of the above 
described lot or field in the year 1807 or 1808, and that he cul- 
tivated it for one year; and that the said lot or field contained, 
to the best of their belief, not more than about seven arpents of 
land. 

No. II. — Louis Pilette, in right of his wife, Angelica, the 
daughter of the late Francis Wilette, of the village of Peoria, 
claims a lot in Peoria, containing about one-half of an arpent of 
land, and bounded northwardly by a street, eastwardly by a lot 
of Antoine Deschamp's, southwardly by a street separating it 
from the Illinois river, and westwardly by a street. 

Proof. Drezy Blondeau testifies, on oath, that Francis 
Wilette built a house on, and improved the above described lot in 
Peoria, in the year 1788 or 1789, and lived thereon until his death, 
in the year 1806 or 1808. Simon Roi testifies, on oath, that he 
went to live in Peoria about the year 1793, at which time he found 
Francis Wilette living on the above described lot in Peoria, where 
he continued to reside until his death; and both Blondeau and Roi 
testify that the said lot contained about one-half of an arpent of 
land, and that Francis Wilette died, leaving but one child, who, 
to their certain knowledge, is now the wife of the above named 
Louis Pilette. 



APPENDIX 231 

Reynark. It is believed there is an unintentional mistake in 
the boundaries of the above described lot. For, to correspond 
with the descriptions given of the other lots in Peoria, it should 
have been northwardly by Antoine Deschamp's lot, eastwardly 
by a street separating it from the Illinois river, and to the south 
and west by streets. 

This lot is also claimed by Felix Fountain, who contends that 
Francis VVilette sold it, as will be seen by reference to his claim 
No. 41. 

No. 12.— Louis Pilette, in right of his wife Angelica, the 
daughter of the late Francis Wilette, claims a lot containing one- 
half of an arpent of land in the village of Peoria, immediately in 
the rear of the last described lot, and separated from it by a street, 
and adjoining to the east [north] a lot of Antoine Deschamps, and 
bounded on the south and west by streets. 

Proof. Drezy Blondeau testifies, on oath, that Francis 
Wilette built stables and other out-houses on the above described 
lot in the year 1788 or 1789, and continued to use the same until 
his death, in the year 1806 or 1808. Simon Roi in like manner 
testifies, that, when he went to live in Peoria, about the year 
1793, he found Francis Wilette in possession of the above described 
lot, which he continued to occupy till his death. And they both 
testify that it contined about one-half of an arpent of land, and 
that Francis Wilette and his wife, on their decease, left but one 
child, who is now the wife of the above-named Louis Pilette. 

No. 13. — Louis Pilette, in right of his wife Angelica, the 
daughter of the late Francis Wilette, claims an out-lot or field, 
containing fifteen or twenty arpents of land, situated about three- 
fourths of a mile northeastwardly [northwestwardly] from the 
village of Peoria. 

Proof. Drezy Blondeau testifies, on oath, that Francis 
W^ilette commenced improving and cultivating an out-lot or field, 
of from fifteen to twenty arpents of land, situated as above 
described, about the year 1786, which he continued to cultivate 
until his death, in the year 1806 or 1808; and Simon Roi testifies, 
on oath, that, when he went to live in Peoria, in the year 1793, he 
found Francis W'ilette in possession of, and cultivating, the above 
described out-lot or field, which he supposed to contain about 



232 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

fifteen or twenty arpents; that he (Roi) had often assisted Wllette 
to harvest his grain, and that he well knows that Wilette continued 
to cultivate it until his death; and they both testify that the wife of 
the above named Louis Pilette was the only child left by the 
said Wilette and his wife at their death. 

No. 14. — Jacques Mette claims a lot in Peoria, of eighty feet 
front, by three hundred feet in depth, (French measure,) and 
bounded on the east by a street separating it from the Illinois 
river, on the north by a lot claimed by Thomas Forsyth, on the 
west by a back street, and on the south by a lot of Francis Buche. 

Proof. Hypolite Maillet testifies, on oath, that he is now 
about forty-two or forty-three years of age, and that, from his 
earliest recollection, the above described lot was possessed and 
cultivated by his father, John Baptiste Maillet, who continued to 
cultivate it until his death in the year 1800 or 1801: and Pierre 
Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, also testifies, on oath, that, when he 
went to live in Peoria, in the year 1790, he found John Baptiste 
Maillet in possession of, and cultivating, the above described lot; 
and they both testify that they always understood that the above 
named Mette had purchased the said lot, (but when is not stated,) 
which they well recollect he continued to occupy until the spring 
of year 18 12; and that the said lot was, they thought, about eighty 
feet in front, by about three hundred feet in depth. 

Remark. The land embraced by this lot must, in part, have 
been covered by the lot of Augustine Roque. See claim No. 2. 

No. 15. — Jacques Mette claims a lot in Peoria, of eighty feet 
in front, by three hundred in depth, (French measure,) situated 
immediately in the rear of the last described lot, and separated 
from it by a street, and bounded north by a lot of Thomas Forsyth, 
and to the west and south by unoccupied lands. 

Proof. Hypolite Maillet testifies, on oath, that he is now 
forty-two or forty-three years of age, and that, from his earliest 
recollection, his father, John Baptiste Maillet, had cultivated the 
above described lot: and Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, 
testifies, in like manner, that he went to live in Peoria in the year 
1790, at which time he found John Baptiste Maillet in possession 
of, and cultivating, the above described lot; and both testify that 
the said Maillet continued to cultivate the said lot until his death. 



APPENDIX 233 

in the year 1800 or 1801, and that they had always understood 
that the above named Mette purchased it, and they well recollect 
he cultivated it until the spring of the year 18 12, and that it was 
about eighty feet in front, by about three hundred in depth. 

No. 16. — Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, claims a lot or 
square of about two arpents of land in the old village of Peoria, 
bounded northwardly by a hill, to the south and east by streets, 
and to the west by an out-lot, also claimed by him. 

Proof. Joseph Lapattre and Hypolite Maillet testify, on 
oath, that Augustine Fiailteau, in the year 1789, * 'established 
himself on four lots, of eighty by three hundred feet each,' ' which 
lots they describe as being bounded on the north by a hill, south 
by a cross street, east by a street, and west by an out-lot, then 
possessed by the said Fiailteau, and that the said Fiailteau sold 
the said lots to the above named Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamber- 
lain, in the year 1794. 

Remark. The testimony, in this case, was not taken in the 
presence of the Register. This lot is also claimed by Augustine 
Fiailteau. See claim No. 11. 

No. 17. — Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, claims an out- 
lot or field, containing about twelve arpents of land, near, if not 
adjoining to, the old village of Peoria, and adjoining, to the south 
and west, the field of Louis Chatellerean. 

Proof. Joseph Lapattre and Hypolite Maillet testify, on 
oath, that Augustine Fiailteau ' 'established' ' the above described 
lot or field, which contained about twelve arpents of land, in the 
year 1789, and that he sold it, in the year 1794, to the above named 
Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain. 

Remark. The testimony, in this case, was not taken in the 
presence of the Register. 

No. 18. — Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, claims a lot in 
Peoria, bounded northwardly and westwardly by unoccupied 
lands, eastwardly by a street separating it from the lot of Louis 
Bisson, and southwardly by a cross street. 

Proof. Hypolite Maillet and Michael La Claire testify, on 
oath, that Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, fenced in, and 
built a house on, the above described lot, about the year 1798, 
but they do not know that he ever occupied the house or cultivated 



234 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the said lot. They describe the lot to have been about the usual 
size, that is, about one-half of an arpent of land. 

No. 19. — Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, claims a lot in 
Peoria, of eighty feet in front, by three hundred feet in depth, 
(French measure,) and bounded northwardly by a lot of Michael 
La Croix, eastwardly by a street separating it from the Illinois 
river, southwardly by a lot of Augustine La Roche, and west- 
wardly by a street. 

Proof. Hypolite Maillet and Michael La Claire testify, on 
oath, that Francis Jourdan made an improvement on the above 
described lot, in Peoria, about the year 1800 or 1801, where he 
resided about one year, when he (Jourdan) sold the said lot to 
Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, who resided on it until he 
was forced from it by Captain Craig, who destroyed the village of 
Peoria in the fall of the year 18 12; that the said lot was about 
eighty feet in front, by about three hundred in depth. 

No. 20. — Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, claims an out- 
lot or field, containing about seven arpents of land, situated near 
half a mile to the southwest of Peoria, and adjoining, on the north, 
the field of Antoine Lapance. 

Proof. Hypolite Maillet and Antoine Lapance testify, on 
oath, that Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, did, in the year 
1 8 10, enclose and cultivate the above described lot or field, and 
that he continued to cultivate it until he and all the inhabitants 
were forced to leave Peoria, by Captain Craig, in the year 18 12. 

No. 21. — Gabriel Lattraille, as administrator of Augustine 
Fiailteau, claims a lot in the old village of Peoria, containing about 
one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded eastwardly by a lot 
of one Lapierre, southwardly by a street separating it from a 
lot claimed by Louis Chatellerean, and to the north and west by 
unoccupied land. 

Proof. Etienne Bernard testifies, on oath, that he saw Augus- 
tine Fiailteau living on, and cultivating the above described lot 
in the old village of Peoria, about the year 1791, on which he, 
Fiailteau, had a blacksmith's shop, and that he continued to reside 
on the said lot for about five or six years, when he abandoned it; 
and that the said lot contained about one-half of an arpent of 
land. Tousant Souliere testifies, on oath, that Augustine Fiail- 



APPENDIX 235 

teau, deceased, lived on, and cultivated the above described lot, 
(but when it is not stated,) and that he continued to reside on it 
for at least ten years, when he was driven off by savage depreda- 
tions. 

Remark. The testimony of Tousant Souliere was not taken 
in the presence of the Register. This lot is also claimed by Pierre 
Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, who contends that he purchased it, 
in the year 1794, of Fiailteau. See claim No. 16. 

No. 12. — Thomas Lusby claims a lot in the old village of 
Peoria, containing about four hundred arpents of land, and 
bounded on the east by a street or road, at the distance of about 
one hundred and twenty yards from lake Peoria, on the south 
by a street separating it from the lot of Joseph Leframbroise, 
west by unoccupied lands, and, on the north, by the lot of one 
Parent. 

Proof. Joseph Lapattre and Louis Coinoi testify, on oath, 
that Thomas Lusby purchased, about the year 1795, a lot, which 
they describe as containing four arpents of land, and situated in 
the upper town of Peoria, from one Saint John, who, they state, 
had resided on the said lot for near fifteen years. Simon Roi 
testifies, on oath, that, when he went to live in Peoria, in the year 
1794, he found one Saint John living on a lot, which he describes 
as it is above described by Lusby, and that he had been informed 
that Saint John sold the said lot to Thomas Lusby. Michael La 
Croix testifies, in like manner, that, in the year 1797, Thomas 
Lusby purchased the said lot from one Saint John, who had pre- 
viously lived thereon; and that the said Lusby lived on the said 
lot for one or two years, when he abandoned it; and both Roi and 
La Croix testify that the lot contained about four arpents of land. 

No. 23. — Thomas Lusby claims a lot in the old village of 
Peoria, containing about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded 
on the east by lake Peoria, south by a lot of one Bouche, west by 
a street separating it from the lot of Louis Chatellerean, and 
north by the lot of one Lapierre. 

Proof. Joseph Lapattre and Louis Coinoi testify, on oath, 
that Thomas Lusby purchased of one Laroach a lot on which he, 
Laroach, resided seven years, and which they merely describe as 
being in the upper town of Peoria, and containing about one-half 



236 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of an arpent of land. They do not state when Lusby purchased, 
or how long he retained possession of the lot. 

Remark. The above testimony was not taken in the presence 
of the Register. 

No. 24. — Thomas Lusby claims a lot in the new village of 
Peoria, containing about one-half of an arpent of land, and 
bounded eastwardly by a street separating it from the Illinois 
river; southwardly by a lot once occupied by Chorette, afterwards 
by Louis Defond; westwardly, by a back street; and, northwardly, 
by a lot of one Champlaine. 

Proof. Simon Roi testifies, on oath, that, when he went to 
live in Peoria, in the year 1794, he found one Urquette living on 
the above described lot; that he, Roi, does not know whether 
Urquette sold it or not, but that he well recollects seeing one 
Castion afterwards living on it, who sold it to Thomas Lusby 
about the year 1798 or 1799, and that when he, Roi, removed 
from Peoria, in the year 1802 or 1803, he left the said Lusby living 
on the said lot. Louis Coinoi and Jospeh Lapattre testify, on 
oath, that they knew of Thomas Lusby's purchasing a lot of about 
one-half of an arpent in the lower town, about the year 1794, from 
one Castion, and that the said Castion purchased the said lot the 
year before of one Urquette, who had lived on the said lot, they 
thought, for nearly twenty years. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by Antoine La Claire, who 
contends that Thomas Lusby sold it. See claim No. 25. Coinoi 
and Lapattre's testimony not taken in the presence of the Reg- 
ister. 

No. 25. — Antoine La Claire claims a lot in Peoria of eighty 
feet in front, by three hundred feet in depth, (French measure,) 
and bounded eastwardly by a street separating it from the Illinois 
river, southwardly by a lot of John Baptiste Defond, westwardly 
by unoccupied lands, and northwardly by a lot which he, La 
Claire, purchased of J. B. Champlaine. 

Proof. Francis Racine testifies, on oath, that one Lablond 
made an improvement on the above described lot in the year 
1798 or 1799, and that the said lot was afterwards in possession 
of several persons, among whom he well recollects Joseph Castion 
and Thomas Lusby; that Lusby sold the said lot in the year 1805 



APPENDIX 237 

to him, (Racine,) who sold it to Joseph Dejeney, who sold it to 
the above named Antoine La Claire in the year 1809, who occu- 
pied said lot till the year 18 12, when Peoria was destroyed by 
Captain Craig. Jacques Mette testifies, on oath, that Thomas 
Lusby was in possession of the above described lot in the year 
1 801, when he, Mette, went to live in Peoria, and that Lusby 
continued to reside thereon for about two years, after which he, 
Mette, saw the said lot in possession of one Joseph Dejeney, who, 
he understood, sold it to the above named Antoine La Claire in 
the year 1809, who continued to occupy the same until the year 
18 12. Both Racine and Mette testify, that the lot was about 
eighty feet in front, by about three hundred feet in depth. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by the above named Thomas 
Lusby. See claim No. 24. 

No. 26. — Antoine La Claire claims a lot in Peoria of eighty 
feet in front, by three hundred feet in depth, (French measure,) 
and bounded eastwardly by Main street, separating it from the 
Illinois river, northwardly by a lot of Francis Racine, westwardly 
by unoccupied land, and southwardly by a lot on which, he. La 
Claire, lived. 

Proof. Francis Racine and Jacques Mett^ testify, on oath, 
that John Baptiste Champlaine made an improvement on the 
above described lot in the year 1801 or 1802, and that he, Cham- 
plaine, sold the said lot, in the year 18 10, to the above named 
Antoine La Claire, who cultivated it as a garden until the year 
1 8 12. Both Racine and Mette testify that said lot was about 
eighty feet in front, by about three hundred feet in depth. 

No. 27. — Michael La Croix claims a lot in Peoria of eighty 
feet in front, by three hundred feet in depth, (French measure,) 
and bounded eastwardly by a street separating it from the Illinois 
river, southwardly by a lot occupied by Pierre Lavassieur, dit 
Chamberlain, westwardly by a back street, and northwardly by 
a cross street. 

Proof. Antoine Deschamps testifies, on oath, that Louis La 
Bossieur had the above described lot in possession, and was living 
on it in the year 1794, and that La Bossieur sold it to Michael 
Coursoll. And Jacques Mette testifies, in like manner, that, when 
he went to live in Peoria in the year 1801 or 1802, he found Michael 



238 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

CoursoU living on the above described lot; that Michael Coursoll 
sold the said lot to John M. Coursoll, who he, Mette, understood 
sold it, about the year 1808 or 1809, to the above named Michael 
La Croix. Antoine Saint Dennis, as well as the above named 
Mette, testify, on oath, that Michael La Croix, very soon after he 
purchased the above described lot, built a large two story dwelling- 
house, and a large store-house, and other out-buildings, and cul- 
tivated a garden on the said lot, and continued to occupy the 
same until the year 18 12, when the village of Peoria was destroyed 
by Captain Craig. 

No, 28. — Simon Roi claims a lot in Peoria, containing about 
one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded on the east by a lot 
of John Coursoll, on the west by a lot of Louis Bisson, on the 
south and north by streets. 

Proof. Drezy Blondeau and John Baptiste Blondeau testify, 
on oath, that Simon Roi went to Peoria some time during the 
year 1793; soon after which he made an improvement, and built 
a house on the above described lot, in which he lived near two 
years, when he abandoned it. 

Remark. The above boundaries are presumed not correct. 
To correspond with the points of the compass, as stated in the 
other descriptions in Peoria, it should have been stated north- 
wardly by the lot of John Coursoll, and southwardly by a lot of 
Louis Bisson. 

No. 29. — Simon Roi, in right of his wife, who was the wife of 
Charles Le Doux, of Peoria, claims a lot in Peoria, containing 
about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded on the south 
by a lot of Antoine Roi, on the north by the lot of Francis Dupre, 
and on the east and west by streets. 

Proof. Drezy Blondeau and John Baptiste Blondeau testify, 
on oath, that Charles Le Doux made an improvement on the above 
described lot in the year 1793, and continued to reside on and 
cultivate the same until his death; that the above named Simon 
Roi married the widow of the said Charles Le Doux about the 
year 1799; and that they, the said Simon Roi and wife, continued 
to reside on and cultivate the said lot until about the year 1808 
or 1809, when they removed from Peoria. 

No. 30. — Simon Roi, in right of his wife, the late widow of 



APPENDIX 239 

Charles Le Doux, deceased, claims a lot in Peoria, containing 
about one-half of an arpent of land, and situated immediately in 
the rear of the last described lot, and separated from it by a street. 
Proof. Drezy Blondeau and John Baptiste Blondeau testify, 
on oath, that Charles Le Doux commenced an improvement on 
the above described lot during the year 1793, by building a stable 
and other out-houses on it, and that he continued to occupy the 
said lot until his death; that the above named Simon Roi married 
his widow about the year 1799; and that they, Roi and wife, 
continued to use the same until they left Peoria, which was about 
the year 1808 or 1809. 

No. 31. — Simon Roi, in right of his wife, the late widow of 
Charles Le Doux, deceased, claims an out-lot immediately in the 
rear of, and adjoining to, the last described lot, containing about 
six arpents of land. 

Proof. Drezy Blondeau and John Baptiste Blondeau testify, 
on oath, that Charles Le Doux made an improvement on the above 
described out-lot or field, in the year 1793, and that he continued 
to cultivate it until his death; that the widow of the said Charles 
Le Doux married the above named Simon Roi about the year 
1799, and that they, Roi and wife, continued to cultivate the same 
until about the year 1808 or 1809, when they left Peoria. 

No. 32. — Simon Roi claims one-third of an out-lot or field, 
containing about thirty arpents of land, improved and cultivated 
by himself, his brother, Antoine Roi, and Francis Racine, situated 
on the east bank of the river Gatinan, near one league southwest- 
wardly from the village of Peoria. 

Proof. Antoine Cicare and Antoine Roi testify, on oath, 
that, in the year 1802, Simon Roi, with his brother, Antoine Roi, 
and Francis Racine, improved and cultivated an out-lot or field, 
at the river Gatinan, containing about thirty arpents of land, 
which they continued to cultivate for many years. 

No. 23- — Antoine Roi claims a lot in Peoria, containing about 
one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded northwardly by a lot 
of Charles Le Doux, eastwardly by a street separating it from the 
Illinois river, southwardly by unoccupied land, and westwardly 
by a street. 

Proof. Michael Le Claire and Simon Roi testify, on oath, 



240 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

that Antoine Roi, in the year 1793 or 1794, built a house on and 
cultivated as a garden, the above described lot, which contained 
about one-half of an arpent of land; and on which he continued to 
reside and cultivate for five or six years, when he abandoned it, 
and removed from Peoria. 

No. 34. — Antoine Roi claims a lot in Peoria, containing about 
one-half of an arpent of land, and situated immediately in the 
rear of the last described lot, and from which it was separated by 
a street, and to the north it joined the lot of Charles Le Doux, 
and to the south and west it was bounded by commons or prairie. 

Proof. Michael Le Claire and Simon Roi testify, on oath, 
that Antoine Roi, in the year 1793 or 1794, made an improvement 
by building stables and other out-houses on the above described 
lot, which lot and buildings he continued to use for five or six 
years, when he abandoned them, and removed from Peoria; that 
the said lot contained about one-half of an arpent of land. 

No. 25' — Antoine Roi claims one-third of an out-lot or field, 
containing about thirty arpents of land, improved and cultivated 
by himself, his brother Simon Roi, and Francis Racine, situated 
on the east bank of the river Gatinan, near one league south- 
westwardly from the village of Peoria. 

Proof. Antoine Cicare and Simon Roi testify, on oath, that, 
in the year 1802, Antoine Roi had in possession, and cultivated 
an out-lot or field at the river Gatinan, in partnership with Simon 
Roi and Francis Racine, which field they cultivated many years; 
that the said field contained about thirty arpents of land. 

No. 2^. — Francis Racine, Sen., claims a lot in Peoria, con- 
taining about one-half of an arpent of land, bounded northwardly 
by a cross street, eastwardly by a street separating it from the 
Illinois river, southwardly by a lot occupied by one Champlaine, 
and westwardly by a back street. 

Proof. Simon Roi testifies, on oath, that, when he went to 
live in Peoria in the year 1794, the above described lot constituted 
a part of a field then possessed and cultivated by John Baptiste 
Maillet; that he, Roi, understood Maillet afterwards gave it to 
Francis Racine, Sen., who, in the year 1796, built a house on it, 
and continued to reside on the said lot until the village was 
destroyed by Captain Craig, in the year 18 12. Antoine Burbonne 



APPENDIX 241 

testifies, on oath, that, when he went to live in Peoria in the year 
1803, he found Francis Racine, Sen., living on the above described 
lot, where he continued to reside until the year 18 12. Francis 
Racine, Jun., testifies, on oath, that he is now twenty-six years 
of age, and that, from his earliest recollection, his father, Francis 
Racine, Sen., lived upon the above described lot, and that he 
continued to live on it until the year 18 12. All three of them state 
that the said lot contained about one-half of an arpent of land. 

No. 37. — Francis Racine, Sen., claims an out-lot or field, 
containing about twenty arpents of land, situated nearly adjoining 
the village of Peoria, and between the fields of Simon Roi and 
Antoine Burbonne. 

Proof. Antoine Burbonne and Francis Racine, Jun., testify 
that Francis Racine, Sen., improved the above described out-lot 
or field about the year 1807, and continued to cultivate it until 
the year 18 12; and that it contained about twenty arpents. 

No. 38. — Francis Racine, Sen., claims an out-lot or field, con- 
taining about eighteen arpents of land, and situated about two 
miles below the village of Peoria, and bounded to the north by 
the out-lot of Simon Roi, to the south and west by the river 
Gatinan, and to the east by the prairie. 

Proof. Simon Roi testifies, on oath, that, in the year 1802 
or 1803, he (Simon Roi) his brother, Antoine Roi, and Francis 
Racine, Sen., enclosed and cultivated a field on the bank of the 
Gatinan river, about two or three miles below the village of Peoria; 
that the said field contained about thirty arpents of land, and that 
it was divided equally between the above named three persons; 
that they continued to cultivate the said field, each one his own 
separate portion of about ten arpents, for two or three years, 
when he, Roi, removed from Peoria. Hypolite Maillet and An- 
toine Roi testify, on oath, that, about the year 1803, Francis 
Racine, Sen., made a field on the bank of the river Gatinan, about 
two miles from Fort Clark, (Peoria,) which, they think, contained 
about eighteen arpents. 

Remark. The above testimony of Hypolite Maillet and 
Antoine Roi was not taken in the presence of the Register; and it 
is quite certain, from the evidence received in claims No. 32 and 
No. 2Sy that this claim does not exceed above ten arpents of land. 



242 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

No. 39. — Francis Racine, Jun., in right of his wife, the late 
widow of John Baptiste Defond, deceased, claims a lot in Peoria, 
containing about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded 
northwardly by a lot occupied formerly by Thomas Lusby, after- 
wards by Antoine La Claire, eastwardly by a street separating it 
from the Illinois river, and to the south and west by streets. 

Proof. Antoine Burbonne and Francis Racine, Sen., testify, 
on oath, that, about the year 1800, one Chorette made an improve- 
ment on the above described lot, which contained about one-half 
of an arpent; and that, soon afterwards, he, Chorette, sold the 
said lot to John Baptiste Defond, who resided on it until the 
village was destroyed by Captain Craig in the year 18 12; that, 
since then, the said Defond has died, and his widow has married 
the above named Francis Racine, Jun. 

No. 40. — Francis Racine, Jun., in right of his wife, the late 
widow of John Baptiste Defond, deceased, claims a lot in Peoria, 
containing about three or four arpents of land, and bounded east- 
wardly by a street, separating it from the lot last described, 
southwardly by a cross street, and to the north and west by 
unoccupied lands. 

Proof. Antoine Burbonne and Francis Racine, Sen., testify, 
on oath, that John Baptiste Defond made an improvement on 
the above described lot about the year 1805 or 1806, and continued 
to cultivate it as a garden and field till the year 181 2; and that the 
said lot contained three or four arpents of land. 

No. 41. — Felix Fontaine claims a lot in Peoria of eighty feet 
in front, by three hundred feet in depth, (French measure,) and 
bounded eastwardly by a street, separating it from lake Peoria, 
northwardly by a lot formerly occupied by Antoine Deschamps, 
but now claimed by him, Fontaine, and to the south and west by 
streets. 

Proof. Antoine Deschamps testifies, on oath, that he saw 
the above described lot in possession of and cultivated by John 
Baptiste Maillet, in the year 1792; and that Maillet gave it to 
Francis Wilette, who remained in possession of it until his death, 
in the year 1804. Hypolite Maillet and Pierre Lavassieur, dit 
Chamberlain, testify, in like manner, that Francis Wilette made 
an improvement and built a house on the above described lot 



APPENDIX 243 

about the year 1797 or 1798, where he continued to reside until 
his death, in the year 1804 or 1805; and all three of the deponents 
testify that his widow continued to occupy the said house and lot 
until her death, which happened about two years after the death 
of her husband. And the said Deschamps further testifies that, 
after the death of Wilette and his wife, he, Deschamps, purchased 
from Wilette's administrators the said lot, and occupied it until 
the year 18 11, when he sold it to Felix Fontaine. And the said 
Maillet and Chamberlain further testify, that the said Fontaine 
continued to occupy the said lot until the village of Peoria was 
destroyed, and the inhabitants driven off by Captain Craig, in the 
year 18 12; and that the lot was about eighty feet in front, by three 
hundred in depth. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by Louis Pilette, in right 
of his wife, who was the daughter of the above named Francis 
Wilette, as will be seen by reference to claim No. 11. 

No. 42. — Felix Fontaine, in right of his wife, Josette Car- 
sereau, dit Fontaine, claims a lot in Peoria of eighty feet in front, 
by three hundred feet in depth, (French measure,) bounded east- 
wardly by a street, separating it from lake Peoria, northwardly 
by a lot claimed by the heirs of La Bonshier, westwardly by a 
street, and southwardly by a lot on which he, Fontaine, lived. 

Proof. Hypolite Maillet and Pierre Lavassieur, dit Cham- 
berlain, testify, on oath, that Francis Wilette enclosed and cul- 
tivated the above described lot in Peoria about the year 1797 or 
1798; and that the said lot was about eighty feet in front, by 
about three hundred feet in depth; that they had understood that 
the said Wilette, about two years after he had made the improve- 
ments, gave the said lot to one Josette Carsereau, who afterwards 
married the above named Felix Fontaine; and that, soon after the 
lot was given, it was built upon, and that they (Fontaine and his 
wife) continued either to live upon the said lot, or to cultivate 
it until they were driven from Peoria by Captain Craig, in the 
year 18 12. 

No. 43. — Felix Fontaine claims an out-lot or field, containing 
about nine arpents of land, situated about one-half of a mile to 
the southwest of the village of Peoria, and bounded on the south 



244 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

by the out-lot of Antoine Lapance, and to the north by the out-lot 
of Francis Racine. 

Proof. Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, and Hypolite 
Maillet testify, on oath, that Antoine Deschamps enclosed and 
cultivated the above described field in the year 1807; that he cul- 
tivated it for three years, when he sold it to the above named 
Felix Fontaine, who continued to cultivate it until the autumn of 
the year 1812; and that the said lot or field contained about nine 
arpents of land. 

No, 44. — Felix Fontaine claims an out-lot containing about 
two and a half arpents of land situated about one-fourth of a mile 
to the west of the village of Peoria. 

Proof. Jacques Mette and Antoine Le Claire testify, on oath, 
that Felix Fontaine made an improvement in the spring of the year 
18 10 on the above described out-lot, and continued to cultivate 
it until the village of Peoria was destroyed by Captain Craig, in 
the autumn of the year 18 12. 

No. 45. — Baptiste Raboin claims a lot in Peoria, containing 
about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded eastwardly by 
a street separating it from the Illinois river, southwardly by a lot 
claimed by Antoine Lapance, westwardly by a street, and north- 
wardly by a cross street. 

Proof. Simon Roi testifies, on oath, that, when he went to 
live in Peoria in the year 1794, he found the above described lot 
occupied by Louis Cicare, who sold it to one Jourdan, who sold 
it to Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, who sold it to him, 
(Roi,) who sold it to Baptiste Raboin, who he (Roi) left in posses- 
sion of it when he left Peoria, which was about the year 1803 or 
1804. Jacques Mette testifies, on oath, that he saw Baptiste 
Raboin living on the above described lot in the year 1807 or 1808, 
and that he well recollects he continued to live on it until about 
the year 1809 or 18 10, when he abandoned it, and that it remained 
unoccupied for about one year, when one Louis Binet went to 
live on it, which he continued to do until the village of Peoria was 
destroyed by Captain Craig, in the year 18 12. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by Louis Pencenneau as 
assignee of the above named Louis Binet. See claim 69. 

No. 46. — Joseph Condier, for himself and the other heirs of 



APPENDIX 245 

the late Joseph Condier, claims a lot in Peoria of eighty feet in 
front, by three hundred feet in depth, and bounded northwardly 
by a lot claimed by Charles La Belle, eastwardly by a street 
separating it from a lot claimed by Pierre Lavassieur, dit Cham- 
berlain, southwardly by a lot claimed by Hypolite Maillet, and 
westwardly by an out-lot claimed by Charles La Belle, 

Proof. Simon Roi, Pierre Lavassieur, and Hypolite Maillet, 
testify, on oath, that Joseph Condier, deceased, improved and 
built a house on the above described lot in the year 1796, and that 
the said lot was about eighty feet in front by about three hundred 
feet in depth; and the said Roi further testifies that Joseph Con- 
dier resided on the said lot one or two years, when he abandoned 
it, and removed from Peoria. 

No. 47. — Hypolite Maillet, in right of his wife Josette Demon- 
chelle, the late widow of Louis Le Bonshier, deceased, claims a 
lot in Peoria, containing about one-half of an arpent of land, and 
bounded northwardly by a lot occupied by Louis Binet, east- 
wardly by a street separating it from the Illinois river, southwardly 
by a lot occupied by Francis Willete, and westwardly by a street. 

Proof. Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, and Michael Le 
Claire testify, on oath, that the late Louis Le Bonshier improved 
and built a house on the above described lot in Peoria, in the 
year 1796 or 1797, and that the said lot contained about one-half 
of an arpent of land, on which he (Le Bonshier) resided until his 
death, which happened in the year 1802 or 1803; after which his 
widow lived about one year on the said lot, when she abandoned 
it; and that the said widow of Louis Le Bonshier has since married, 
and is now the wife of the above named Hypolite Maillet. 

No. 48. — Hypolite Maillet, in right of his wife Josette Demon- 
chelle, the late widow of Louis Bonshier, deceased, claims an out- 
lot or field containing about four arpents of land, situated about 
one-half of a mile to the west of the village of Peoria. 

Proof. Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, and Michael Le 
Claire testify, on oath, that Louis Le Bonshier improved and 
cultivated, about the year 1796 or 1797, the above described lot 
as a garden, and which they think contained about four arpents 
of land; and that he continued to cultivate it until his death in 
the year 1802 or 1803, and that his widow cultivated it for one 



246 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

year after the death of her husband, when she abandoned it; and 
that she has since married, and is now the wife of the above named 
Hypolite Maillet. 

No. 49. — Hypolite Maillet claims a lot in Peoria, containing 
about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded northwardly by 
a lot of Charles La Belle, eastwardly by a street, southwardly 
by a lot claimed by him, (Maillet,) and westwardly by an out-lot 
claimed also by him. 

Proof. Jacques Mette and Antoine Lapance testify, on oath, 
that Hypolite Maillet commenced an improvement on the above 
described lot in the year 1809, and that he continued to reside on 
the said lot until the year 18 12, when the village was destroyed by 
Captain Craig, and that the lot contained about one-half of an 
arpent of land. 

No. 50. — Hypolite Maillet claims a lot in Peoria, containing 
about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded northwardly by 
the last described lot, eastwardly and southwardly by streets, 
and westwardly by an out-lot claimed by him (Maillet.) 

Proof. Jacques Mette and Antoine Lapance testify, on oath, 
that Hypolite Maillet commenced an improvement on the above 
described lot in the year 1809, and continued to occupy and cul- 
tivate the said lot, which contained about one-half of an arpent 
of land as a garden until the year 18 12, when he was driven from 
Peoria by Captain Craig. 

No. 51. — Hypolite Maillet claims an out-lot immediately in 
the rear of, and adjoining to the two last described lots in the 
village of Peoria, containing about six arpents of lanei, and bounded 
northwardly by an out-lot of Charles La Belle, and southwardly 
by an out-lot of John Baptiste Defond. 

Proof. Jacques Mette and Antoine Lapance testify, on oath, 
that Hypolite Maillet improved the above described lot, which 
contained about six arpents of land, in the year 1809, and con- 
tinued to cultivate it as a field, until he was forced by Captain 
Craig to abandon it, and the village of Peoria, in the year 18 12. 

No. 52. — Hypolite Maillet claims an out-lot or field, con- 
taining about fifteen arpents of land, situated about one mile and 
a half to the north of the village of Peoria, and bounded on the 



APPENDIX 247 

north by the out-lot of one Wilette, westwardly by the bluff, and 
to the south and east by the prairie. 

Proof. Francis Racine, Sen., Francis Jourdan, and Antoine 
Burbonne, testify, on oath, that the above described field was 
''established" in the year 1797 by John Baptiste Maillet, the 
father of Hypolite Maillet, and that it contained, to the best of 
their recollection, about fifteen arpents of land. 

Remark. The evidence in favor of this and the following 
claim was not taken in the presence of the Register. 

No. 53. — Hypolite Maillet claims an out-lot or field contain- 
ing about fifteen arpents of land, situated about two miles below 
the village of Peoria, on the eastern bank of the river Gatinan, 
and adjoining to the south the field of Francis Montplaiser. 

Proof. Francis Racine, Sen., Francis Jourdan, and Antoine 
Burbonne, testify, on oath, that Hypolite Maillet had the above 
described out-lot or field in his possession in the year 1806, and 
that he continued to cultivate it until the year 18 12, when he and 
all the inhabitants were forced by Captain Craig to leave Peoria, 
and that the said field or out-lot, to the best of their recollection, 
contained about fifteen arpents of land. 

No. 54. — The heirs of the late Antoine Grand Bois, by their 
agent Antoine Lapance, claim a lot in Peoria of eighty feet in 
front by three hundred in depth, (French measure,) and bounded 
northwardly by a lot of Raphael Belonge, eastwardly by a street 
separating it from lake Peoria, southwardly by a cross street, and 
westwardly by unoccupied land. 

Proof. Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, and Hypolite 
Maillet, testify, on oath, that the late Antoine Grand Bois im- 
proved the above described lot, and built a house on it, about the 
year 1801, and resided on it until his death in the year 1806 or 
1807, after which his widow resided on the said lot for one or two 
years, when she abandoned it, after which she died, leaving several 
children; that the said lot was about eighty feet in front by about 
three hundred in depth. 

No. 55. — Michael Le Claire claims a lot in Peoria, containing 
about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded eastwardly by 
a back street, southwardly by the lot of one Gunoille, westwardly 
by unoccupied land, and northwardly by a cross street. 



248 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Proof. Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, and Hypolite 
Maillet testify, on oath, that one Whitby built a house on the 
above described lot in the year 1801, that the lot contained about 
one-half of an arpent of land; that he (Whitby) sold the said lot 
to one Racine, who sold it to the above named Le Claire in spring 
of the year 1803; ^"d that he, the said Le Claire, occupied the 
said lot until the year 1806, when he abandoned it, and left Peoria. 

No. 56. — Francis Buche claims an out-lot or field containing 
about ten arpents of land, situated at the foot of the bluflf, about 
half a mile west of village of Peoria. 

Proof. Jacques Mett^ and Felix Fontaine testify, on oath, 
that Francis Buche made an improvement on the above described 
out-lot or field in the year 1809, and that he continued to cultivate 
it until the fall of the year 18 12, when he and the other inhabitants 
were driven from Peoria by Captain Craig, of the Illinois militia, 
and that the said lot or field contained about ten arpents of land. 

No. 57. — Josephte Boucher claims a lot in the old village of 
Peoria, containing about one-half of an arpent of land, and 
bounded northwardly by a lot of Francis Belhumer, eastwardly 
by lake Peoria, southwardly by a lot of Joseph Laframboise, and 
westwardly by a street. 

Proof. Joseph Lapattre and Pierre Lavassieur testify, on 
oath, that Francis Boucher, deceased, had in his possession, in 
the year 1795, the above described lot, on which there was a house, 
which they afterwards well recollect seeing in a state of decay and 
ruin. 

Remark. The evidence in this case was not taken in the 
presence of the Register. 

No. 58. — Josephte Boucher claims an out-lot containing 
about six or seven arpents of land, situated near the old village of 
Peoria. 

Proof. Joseph Lapattre and Pierre Lavassieur testify, on 
oath, that Francis Boucher, deceased, had in his possession, in 
the year 1795, an out-lot or field at the hill near the old village of 
Peoria, containing about six or seven arpents. 

Remark. This testimony was not taken in the presence of 
the Register. 

No. 59. — John Baptiste Blondeau claims a lot in Peoria 



APPENDIX 249 

containing about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded 
northwardly by a street, eastwardly by a lot of John Demonchelle, 
southwardly by a lot of Francis Dupre. 

Proof. Drezy Blondeau and Simon Roi testify, on oath, that 
John Baptiste Blondeau made an improvement on the above 
described lot in the year 1799, and resided on the same for more 
than five years, and that the said lot contained about one-half of 
an arpent. 

Remark. The boundaries of the above lot do not correspond 
with those generally given of the other lots in Peoria. It. should 
have been, eastwardly by a street separating it from the Illinois 
river, northwardly by a lot of John Demonchelle, southwardly 
by a lot of Francis Dupre, and westwardly by a street. 

No. 60. — The heirs of Charles La Belle, by their agent 
Antoine Le Claire, claim a lot in Peoria, containing about one- 
half of an arpent of land, and bounded northwardly by a cross 
street, separating it from a lot of Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamber- 
lain, eastwardly by a street, southwardly by a lot of Joseph 
Condier, and westwardly by an out-lot claimed by them. 

Proof. Jacques Mette and Antoine Burbonne testify, on 
oath, that Charles La Belle, deceased, built a house on the above 
described lot in the year 1809 or 18 10, and continued to reside on 
it until the village of Peoria was destroyed by Captain Craig in 
the year 18 12, and that the said lot contained about one-half of 
an arpent. 

No. 61. — The heirs of Charles La Belle, by their agent 
Antoine Le Claire, claim an out-lot or field, containing about ten 
arpents of land, situated immediately in the rear of, and adjoining 
to the last described lot, and adjoining on the south an out-lot of 
Hypolite Maillet. 

Proof. Jacques Mette and Antoine Burbonne testify, on 
oath, that Charles La Belle, enclosed and cultivated the above 
described lot or field in the year 1809 or 18 10, and that he con- 
tinued to cultivate it until he was forced by Captain Craig to 
leave it in the fall of the year 18 12, and that the said lot or field 
contained about ten arpents of land. 

No. 62. — Simon Bertrand, in right of his wife Mary, the late 
widow of John Demonchelle, deceased, claims a lot in Peoria, 



250 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

containing about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded 
northwardly by a lot formerly occupied by Jourdan, afterwards 
by Raboin, eastwardly by a street separating it from the Illinois 
river, southwardly by a lot of John B. Blondeau, and westwardly 
by a street. 

Proof. Simon Roi testifies, on oath, that, in the year 1799 
or 1800, Francis Dupre built a house on the above described lot, 
and lived in the same for two or three years; that said Dupre sold 
the said lot to John Demonchelle, who also lived on it for two or 
three years, when he abandoned it, and left Peoria. Jacques 
Mette also testifies, that, in the year 1803 or 1804, he saw one 
John Demonchelle living on the above described lot, who continued 
to live on it for one or two years, when he abandoned it, and the 
house and improvements went to ruin; that the said lot was again 
improved and built upon in the year 1810 by Antoine Lapance. 
Both Roi and Mette state that the lot contained about one-half 
of an arpent. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by the above named 
Antoine Lapance. See claim No. 63. 

No. d'T,. — Antoine Lapance claims a lot in Peoria, of eighty 
feet in front, by about three hundred feet in depth, (French meas- 
ure,) and bounded northwardly by a lot occupied by Louis Binet, 
eastwardly by a street separating it from the Illinois river, south- 
wardly by unoccupied land, and westwardly by a street. 

Proof. Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, and Hypolite 
Maillet testify, on oath, that Antoine Lapance built a house on, 
and cultivated as a garden, the above described lot, in the year 
1810, and continued to reside on and cultivate the same until the 
fall of the year 18 12, and that the said lot was about eighty feet 
in front, by about three hundred feet in depth. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by Simon Bertrand. See 
claim No. 62. 

No. 64. — Antoine Lapance claims an out-lot or field contain- 
ing about nine arpents of land, situated about one-fourth of a 
mile from Peoria, and bounded on the north by an out-lot or field 
of Felix Fontaine, and on the south by the field of Pierre Lavas- 
sieur, dit Chamberlain. 

Proof. Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, and Hypolite 



APPENDIX 251 

Maillet testify, on oath, that Antoine Lapanc6 enclosed and cul- 
tivated the above described lot or field in the spring of the year 

1811, and cultivated it until the autumn of the year 1812, and that 
the said field contained about nine arpents. 

No. 65. — Antoine Burbonne claims a lot in Peoria, bounded 
eastwardly by a street separating it from lake Peoria, southwardly 
by a lot of Louis Le Bonshier, westwardly by a street, and north- 
wardly by a cross street. 

Proof. Jacques Mette and Francis Racine, Sen, testify, on 
oath, that Louis Binet made an improvement on the above 
described lot in the year 1801 or 1802; that he (Binet) sold said 
lot to one Parquette, who sold it to the above named Antoine 
Burbonne, who lived on the said lot until he was driven therefrom, 
and the village of Peoria destroyed, by Captain Craig, in the year 

1812, and that the said lot contained about one-half of an arpent 
of land. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by Louis Pencenneau, as 
assignee of the above named Louis Binet. See claim No. 68. 

No. (i(i. — Antoine Burbonne claims a lot in Peoria, bounded 
northwardly by a street, southwardly by a lot occupied by Louis 
La Bonshier, eastwardly by a street separating it from the last 
described lot, and westwardly by astreet. 

Proof. Antoine Le Claire and Jacques Mette testify, on oath, 
that they well recollect to have seen, in the year 1809 or 18 10, 
Antoine Burbonne have in his possession, and occupy as an out- 
lot for stables, the above described lot, which contained about 
one-fourth of an arpent of land, and which lot he continued to 
occupy until the year 1812, when Captain Craig compelled him 
to leave Peoria. 

No. 67. — Antoine Burbonne claims an out-lot or field con- 
taining four or five arpents of land, situated near Peoria, and 
adjoining on the north the field of Francis Racine. 

Proof. Francis Racine, Sen., and Francis Racine, Jun., 
testify, on oath, that Antoine Burbonne enclosed and cultivated 
the above described out-lot or field one year prior to his being 
driven away from it, and the destruction of Peoria, by Captain 
Craig, of the Illinois militia, in the year 18 12; and that the lot 
contained about four or five arpents of land. 



252 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

No. 68. — Louis Pencenneau claims a lot in Peoria, contain- 
ing about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded eastwardly 
by a street separating it from lake Peoria, southwardly by a lot 
claimed by Louis La Bonshier, and northwardly and westwardly 
by streets. 

Proof. Simon Roi testifies, on oath, that Louis Binet im- 
proved the above described lot, and built a house on it in the year 
1796 or 1797, and that he continued to reside on the said lot when 
he (Roi) removed from Peoria in the year 1802 or 1803. Jacques 
Mett6, in like manner, testifies that when he went to live in Peoria 
in the year 1801 or 1802, he found Louis Binet living on and cul- 
tivating the above described lot; and that he (Binet) continued 
to do so until about the year 1806 or 1807, when he (Mette) 
understood Binet sold the said lot to one Parquette, who after 
wards sold it, as he (Mette) understood, to Antoine Burbonne, 
who resided on it until the year 18 12. Both Roi and Mette state 
that the lot contained about one-half of an arpent. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by Antoine Burbonne. 
See claim No. 6^. 

No. 69. — Louis Pencenneau claims a lot in Peoria, containing 
about one-half of an arpent of land, and bounded northwardly 
by a cross street, separating it from a lot of Louis Defond, south- 
wardly by a lot claimed by Antoine Lapance, eastwardly by a 
street separating it from the Illinois river, and westwardly by 
a street. 

Proof. Jacques Mette testifies, on oath, that, in the year 
1 801 or 1802, when he went to live in Peoria, he found one Jourdan 
living on the above described lot; that, afterwards, he (Mette) 
saw residing on the said lot one Raboin, who, to the best of his 
recollection, abandoned it about the year 1807 or 1808, after 
which, the house, being old and decayed, was pulled down, and 
all the improvements of the lot went to ruin; in which vacant or 
unoccupied state the lot remained until the autumn of the year 
18 10, when Antoine St. Dennis and Jacques Mette testify, that 
the said lot was again improved and built upon by Louis Binet, 
who continued to reside on the said lot until the autumn of the 
year 18 12, when Captain Craig forced the inhabitants to leave 



APPENDIX 253 

Peoria. Both Mett^ and St. Dennis describe the lot as containing 
about one-half of an arpent of land. 

Remark. This lot is also claimed by the above named Raboin. 
See claim No. 45. 

No. 70. — Louis Pencenneau claims a lot in Peoria, bounded 
northwardly by a lot of Pierre Lavassieur, dit Chamberlain, east- 
wardly by a street separating it from the Illinois river, southwardly 
by a cross street, and westwardly by a back street. 

Proof. Jacques Mette testifies, on oath, that when he went 
to live in Peoria, in the year 1801 or 1802, he found Augustine 
Laroche residing on and cultivating the above described lot, where 
he continued to reside until some time in the year 18 12. Antoine 
St. Dennis in like manner testifies, that, when he went to live in 
Peoria in the year 18 10, he found Augustine Laroche living on 
the above described lot, where he continued to live until some 
time towards the close of the year 181 1, and that the house was 
destroyed by Captain Craig in the year following. Louis Pen- 
cenneau, Jun., testifies that he had always understood that 
Augustine Laroche gave the above described lot to his father, the 
above named Louis Pencenneau. And Antoine St. Dennis and 
Louis Pencenneau, Jun., testify, that, soon after the peace in 18 15, 
the above named Louis Pencenneau built a house on the above 
described lot, and that he continued to occupy the same until the 
autumn of the year 18 17; and all three describe the lot as contain- 
ing about one-half of an arpent of land. 

All which is respectfully submitted. 

Edward Coles, 
Register of the Land office at Edwardsmlle . 
To William H. Crawford, 

Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. 
November 10, 1820. 



Coles to Cook, November 15, 1820 
[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 49: 341-343] 

Edwardsville Nov: 15 1820 
Dr. Sir 

By the last mail I forwardly [sic] to the Secretary of the 



254 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Treasury my Report on claims to Lots in Peoria. You will 
recollect I mentioned to you the embarrassment I felt in deciding 
upon what claims should be confirmed: and consulted you as to 
what was the true intent and meaning of the Law for the relief of 
the inhabitants of Peoria. Being extremely anxious to comply, 
if possible, with every provision of the law, I consulted many 
persons to know how I could do so; and in accordance with the 
advice of most of them, and after much consideration, I have 
been confirmed in the opinion which I expressed to you, when 
we conversed on this subject, that I could not with propriety, 
under the law, decide as to what claims ought to be confirmed. 

To enable you at one view to see the character of the claims, 
and to understand the particular merits of each, I have drawn off 
a tabular statement of them all, in which will be seen the size of 
the claims — the time when the improvements were made — the 
time when they were abandoned — and the particular claims which 
conflict with each other. Having once decided on the period 
before which it was necessary to have made the improvement — 
or in one word the particular description of claims which should 
be confirmed, this list will enable you at once to select the claims. 
The Laws heretofore passed for the relief of the inhabitants of 
Kaskaskia, and the other French Villages in the Illinois Country, 
confirmed to them only such Lands, as they had possessed and 
cultivated previous to the year 1791. 

I will not apply to Congress for compensation but I will say 
to you that I ought in justice to be paid, and liberally paid too, 
for the trouble and labour I have been at in examining witnesses, 
taking their depositions, and transcribing two copies of the sub- 
stance of the evidence. You who are acquainted with the illiterate 
[chajracter of French settlers can form some idea of the time 
required, and the trouble attending the taking of depositions for 
seventy claims — many of which are supported by two, three & even 
four depositions. The Commissioners to settle claims at Kaskas- 
kia neve[r] received less than 500^ each, and was often allowed in 
addition 500^ for an interpreter and clerk — and if I mistake not 
in one or two instances reported on fewer claims than I have done. 

I am quite unwell, and write you in great haste, you will 
therefore excuse this hasty scrawl — and pardon me for only adding 



APPENDIX 255 

that your fair one is very well and looks much better than when 
you parted with her. 

I am with much respect and esteem yours 

Edward Coles 
D. P. Cook, Esq., M. C. ' 



Coles to Dodge, February 22, 1821 

zette. May 5, 1821. Phc 
, from originals in Librai 

Edwardsville, Feb. 22d, 1821 



[Edwardsville Spectator in Illinois Gazette, May 5, 1821. Photostats in Illinois 
Historical Survey, University of Illinois, from originals in Library of Congress] 



Dear Sir, 

A great portion of our citizens having emigrated from newly 
settled states abounding in forests, in the midst of which they have 
been accustomed to make their farms, by felling and clearing off 
the timber, have, from long habit, become so familiar to this kind 
of labor, that, when they remove to this country, where the Crea- 
tor, in the munificence if his bounty, has happily diversified wood 
with prairie, and prepared a full proportion of the land for the 
plough, and even for the scythe, they seem to be loath to avail 
themselves of the advantages of their situation. Still, from the 
force of habit, in many cases, preferring the laborious task of 
clearing lands, and cultivating crops in the midst of stumps and 
roots, to cultivating lands already cleared, in which there is 
nothing to obstruct or impede the plough. You have no doubt 
felt, as I have often done, mortification and chagrin at seeing the 
timber destroyed in parts of the country where, from the great size 
and fertility of the surrounding prairies, it was particularly wanted. 
I think it is to be deplored as an evil to the state, the predilection 
of many of our settlers for building and making their improve- 
ments in the forest. For, besides the destruction of timber, which 
from its scarcity in places will soon become peculiarly valuable, 
situations in it, bordering on large prairies, are generally much more 
unfavorable to health, than those in the prairies. In general, as 
you well know, the prairies occupy the most elevated grounds, the 
timber being confined to the vicinity of the creeks, or natural 
drains of the country. From these low, and often wet lands, the 
exhalation of the pestilential miasma, the noxious cause of our 



256 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

autumnal fevers, is more abundant, and it being specifically much 
heavier than atmospheric air, it gravitates and collects in these 
low places. In passing them in the dusk of the evening, after a 
warm day in the summer and fall, you have no doubt often 
encountered the disagreeable smell of the miasma. In addition 
to there being less exhalation in the prairies, the air is there 
sweetened by a more free and uninterrupted circulation; and what 
adds much to the healthfulness of the situations in the prairie, is 
the superior purity and coolness of the water obtained from the 
wells sunk in elevated ground. It is not uncommon that the 
water of wells sunk at the edge of the timber, in low situations, 
especially in wet post oak lands, has a disagreeable bituminous or 
sulphurous taste. It is seldom, if ever, in this part of the country, 
that a large vein of water is found in sinking wells; in general they 
are supplied by small veins, and often by gentle oozings, which in 
low places frequently come from so near the surface of the earth 
that the water is not only warmed but tainted by the solar heat. 
This is particularly the case with the stagnant pools in the beds of 
creeks, which have ceased to run, and with which many of our new 
settlers content themselves with drinking, for a considerable time, 
in preference to bestowing two or three days labor in digging a 
well. Such water would produce disease in the midst of the Alle- 
ghany mountains. While on this subject I will add, that from 
observations made in this, as well as other countries, I am per- 
suaded that much depends, not only upon the purity, but the 
temperature of the water; that warm or tepid water is unfavorable 
to health in bilious countries and that very cold water is anti- 
bilious in its tendency, and is alike beneficial in the preservation 
as in the restoration of health. 

Besides the predilections for forest lands, arising from old and 
deep rooted habits, they are often selected by the poor man from 
a belief that, although they require more manual labor to bring 
them into cultivation, yet they require less capital to do so than 
the prairie lands. The idea is very prevalent that it requires at 
least four horses and a patented bar shear plough to break prairie. 
This is by no means correct. — The prairie lands require very little 
if any, more force of team to break them, than the sod lands 
which have been long set on old farms. — I know from experience 



APPENDIX 257 

that a pair of horses, or a pair of oxen are perfectly competent to 
the task of ploughing and preparing prairie land for cultivation. 
As the experiment I made proved very satisfactory, both in the 
execution and in the result; and believing, if followed by those of 
limited means, it would be highly advantageous, I beg leave here 
to state the particulars of it. 

In the months of May and June last, I broke prairie, on which 
there was a thick sod, by first ploughing it with a plain knife 
coulter, such as is generally used to break new rooty lands; I then 
immediately ploughed the land a second time, with a small bar 
shear, obliquely across the first ploughing, in order to reduce the 
size and diminish the number of the clods; this was followed by 
two harrowings with an iron tooth drag, which effectually broke 
the land, pulverized it, and put it in an excellent state of prepara- 
tion for a crop of corn. Each of these operations was performed 
with ease by one pair of horses. The poor man of the frontier, 
who should find it expensive or difficult to procure iron, might 
substitute wood for the teeth of his drag. Although this mode of 
breaking prairie consumes nearly triple the time ordinarily taken, 
yet when it is recollected that it requires only one person, and but 
half of the usual team, it will not be considered tedious or labor- 
ious, especially by those who, possessed of limited means could not 
prepare for cultivation as much land in the same time, in any other 
way; and when it is also taken into consideration that the land 
is better broke, and will yield a much greater crop, than new 
prairie generally does, in the ordinary way of ploughing it. When 
the sod of the prairie is inverted by the plough in long flakes, in 
the spring of the year, it does not decay and become mellow until 
the ensuing autumn; the consequence is that the corn which is 
planted in it cannot be cultivated, and of course seldom brings 
more than about one third, and often not more than one fourth of 
a crop. By this mode of coultering, ploughing, and harrowing, 
the land is put into a state which enables the farmer to list, check, 
plant, and cultivate it, and the yield, judging from my crop, is but 
little short of what it would be in old land. 

While on the subject of the cultivation of corn, permit me to 
recommend to our farmers the use of the one-horse harrow, con- 
sisting of either three or five teeth. The farmers in the corn 



258 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

districts on the seaboard have found great advantage in the econ- 
omy of labor, the preservation of soil and the increase of their 
corn crops, from substituting this kind of harrow in place of the 
plough; which in the advanced stages of the corn has an injurious 
effect in cutting its necessary roots, and exposing them and the 
soil too much to the drying effects of the sun and wind. If the 
land is thoroughly broke in the spring, it will be amply sufficient to 
give the corn, after it is up, one ploughing, followed at proper 
intervals, by two or three harrowings. The plan of cultivation 
most approved of, is after the corn has gotten up, and to that 
state when it requires the earth near it to be stirred, a furrow is 
run on both sides of it, leaving the middle of the row untouched. 
In this way the whole crop is ploughed over. When this is done, 
two other furrows are run in the middle of each row, which com- 
pletes the ploughing of it; after which the harrows alone are used 
in the cultivation of the corn. 

These harrows, or cultivators, are of a triangular shape, with 
teeth made either of square bars of iron from three fourths of one 
inch in diameter, which are flattened, curved, and sharpened at 
the lower end, to enable them the better to pierce and stir the 
earth; or they are made of flat bars of iron about two inches in 
width by one inch in thickness the upper ends of which are made 
square to fit into the beam, with a shoulder, and the blades of the 
teeth are curved, the sides are bevelled, and the ends sharpened — 
in one word, they are made very much in shape like a cow's 
tongue, from which circumstance they are called the beef's tongue 
harrow teeth. These are deemed the best kind. The harrows 
containing these teeth are made so narrow that it is necessary to 
run them twice in a corn row, and are calculated to cultivate 
stiff lands, or to be drawn by a weak horse: those that contain five 
teeth are so wide that they cultivate the whole row by once passing 
through it; of course one of this description of harrows will culti- 
vate as much land as four ploughs, and do it too in a way more 
salutary to the corn. These harrows are also used to great advan- 
tage in seeding small grain. This saving of labor, particularly 
in a country like this, where it is so scarce and so expensive, cannot 
fail to recommend the cultivating harrow to the use of every 
judicious farmer. 



APPENDIX 259 

I beg you to excuse me for troubling you with the perusal of 
so long a letter the contents of which, though more evinsive of my 
zeal than of my capacity, may yet tend to remind others, better 
qualified to be useful in this way than myself, that one of the chief 
objects of our society is, to embody and impart to all, the observa- 
tions and experience of each. 

I am with much respect and esteem, your friend, 

Edward Coles. 
Henry S. Dodge, Esq., 

Secretary of the Agricultural Society 
of the State of Illinois. 



Notice to Debtors for Public Lands, September 17, 1821 

[Edwardsville Spectator, September 18, 1821. Photostats in Illinois Historical 
Survey, University of Illinois, from originals in Library of Congress] 

To Debtors to the United States for Public Lands, 
Register's Office. 

Edwardsville, Sept. //, 1821. 

Having received by the last mail, from the Commissioner 
of the General Land Office, instructions explaining, altering, and 
adding to those heretofore received and acted on, I hasten to 
make known, to those interested, the following provisions, which 
it is conceived are the only items contained in these additional 
instructions which are Important, at this late period, to be made 
known, in this way, to the public, viz: 

"In cases where two or more quarter sections have been 
purchased at the same time, and one or more of such quarter sec- 
tions has been assigned, the assignee, in such cases, cannot be 
permitted to relinquish a less quantity of land than the original 
purchaser could have done under the last proviso of the first 
section of the act, which states, "that, where a purchaser has 
purchased two or more quarter sections at the same time, he 
cannot be permitted to relinquish less than a quarter section." 
The words "«/ the saine time^' are to be understood to mean either 
on the same day at private sale, or at the same public sale. 

"After the party shall have filed a declaration or relinquish- 
ment for all the tracts he may hold at the time of the filing of such 



260 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

instruments, lands subsequently obtained may be the subject of 
another declaration or relinquishment. 

"Where fractional sections have been classed with entire 
sections or quarters, the purchase being equal to, or exceeding the 
quantity of three hundred and twenty acres, that is, two quarter 
sections, not less than the amount of one quarter section, that is, 
not less than one hundred and sixty acres, can in such case be 
relinquished, agreeable to the last proviso of the first section of 
the act. But where the quantity contained in the classed fractions 
is less than three hundred and twenty acres, a quantity not less 
than eighty acres may be relinquished, but a quantity that would 
leave to the part retained of the fraction a less quantity than eighty 
acres cannot be relinquished. See Circular of the 15th of June 
last. The part relinquished of a fractional section should, always, 
be such, as to admit of its being laid off on the sectional line, 
which has been actually surveyed. 

"When the quantity of acres is equal to one half of the frac- 
tion, let the designation be, the north, south, east or west half of 
such fraction. You will be careful, in all cases, to secure to the 
part of a tract relinquished, natural advantages proportionally 
equal to those of the tract retained. 

"One of two or more partners, holding a certificate, where the 
others are either deceased or out of the country, or a widowed 
mother as the natural guardian of her minor children, may declare 
for t\\c further credit^ without the delay attending legal formalities. 

"The right of a discount of 21^^ V^^ cent, for complete pay- 
ment for any tract of land, on or before the 30th day of September, 
1822, is unconditional. It is, therefore, demandable on the whole 
sum payable, principal and interest. — Therefore, where an equal 
annual installment on land further credited, is chargeable with 
interest of six per cent, from 30th September, 1821, to 30th 
September, 1822, and complete payment is made on the day last 
mentioned, the discount is to be calculated on the interest charge- 
able, as well as the principal then due. Where the first of the 
equal annual instalments on land further credited, has been paid 
at the legal period, and complete payment is made of the remain- 
ing instalments on the 30th of September, 1822, the discount is to 
be calculated on such installment, as well as on the remainder. 



APPENDIX 261 

'' After the joth September^ 1822^ when the right to a discount 
of 373^2 P^^ cent, will cease by law, instalments due on lands 
further credited will be subject to the old discount of eight per 
cent." 

I avail myself of this occasion again to remind debtors to 
the United States for land, that unless they shall, on or before 
THE LAST DAY OF THIS MONTH, pay to the Receiver the whole 
balance due, or sign and file with the Register a declaration of 
acceptance or of relinquishment, that they will not be entitled to 
any of the benefits of the act of the 2nd of March, for the relief 
of the purchasers of public lands. 

Edward Coles, 
Register of the Land Office at Edwardsville. 



Coles to Editor of Illinois Intelligencer, June 4, 1822 

[Edwardsville Spectator, July 6, 1822. Photostats in Illinois Historical Survey, 
University of Illinois, from originals in Library of Congress] 

June 4, 1822. 

Sir: In answer to your enquiry, as to the truth of a statement, 
contained in an anonymous publication, which lately appeared in 
the Illinois Intelligencer, in which it was asserted that I had 
emancipated six or eight old and worthless negroes, and yet hold 
in bondage, in a neighboring state, many young and valuable ones, 
I will state the facts, and leave you to judge what foundation 
there is for the assertion, and how far my conduct deserves cen- 
sure. 

In accordance with my principles and feelings, which have, 
from an early period of my life, been very strongly opposed to 
slavery, I emancipated, as soon as I could dispose of the property 
left me by my father, all the slaves he bequeathed me, amounting 
to about twenty in number, except two old and superannuated 
women, one of whom has since died of old age, and the other still 
lives and is supported by me. But among the negroes thus left 
me, there was a woman who was the mother of five children, the 
oldest of whom was not large enough to nurse the youngest; and 
whose husband belonged to a man living in the neighborhood. 
Finding her in this helpless situation, and knowing tjhat it would 



262 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

be impossible for her to support herself when freed, with so large, 
helpless, and, at the same time, increasing family, I felt it my duty 
to assist her, as far as it was in my power; and I knew no more 
effectual way of doing so, than by purchasing her husband. He, 
however, was not a slave for life. He had formerly belonged to 
an old Quaker, who had left in his will that he should become free 
in August, 1825. I accordingly purchased the remainder of the 
time he was to serve; but told him as I was principled against 
holding slaves, I should liberate him as he had repaid me the money 
I had paid for him. After I brought him to this country, him and 
his family lived in St. Louis, where he rented a house, and worked 
when and for whom he thought proper, for near two years, during 
which time, owing to the sickness of himself and family, and to 
the hard times, &c. &c. he was barely able to support his family; 
and at the expiration of that time I was informed by him that Dr. 
Walker had an account of ninety-six dollars and fifty cents against 
me for medical attendance on him and his family. He then told 
me that he despaired of being able to repay the money I had paid 
for him., and proposed that I should let Dr. Walker have the re- 
mainder of the time he was bound to serve by the will of his old 
master, and added that he and his wife both liked the doctor and 
his family, and preferred living with them to any other persons. 
On this I agreed to let Dr. Walker have him and his family until 
August, 1825. I say him and his family, for knowing, as I said 
before, that the woman could not support herself and family 
without the assistance of her husband, I executed her free papers 
to take effect when her husband should become free; in the mean- 
time the support of her and her family devolved upon me. So 
far, therefore, from freeing old and worthless negroes, I have taken 
upon myself the support of all those left me by my father, who 
were unable from age or other circumstances, of supporting them- 
selves. And among those emancipated there were but three above 
the age of thirty, and to those three I gave a quarter section of 
land each as a remuneration for their past services. And so far 
from holding in bondage many young and valuable negroes, I own 
none, but have liberated all, in the manner above described; and 
have not even had any of their children bound to serve me during 
their minority, except the children of the woman whose husband 



APPENDIX 263 

I purchased. In addition to this, I might add, that I not only 
emancipated my slaves, from a conviction of the impropriety 
of holding them, but, from a desire to serve and befriend them. 
I removed, at my own expense, all those who were willing to come 
to this free, new, and prosperous country. 

You have now the whole, in minute detail, of my owning, 
buying, and selling negroes. — For I assure you I own none; nor 
never owned, nor bought, nor sold one, except as above stated. 
And if there be anything in my conduct, as above related, or 
indeed in relation to any of the unfortunate descendents of Africa, 
which is in violation of my religious or political creed, I am not 
aware of it. 

The subject of this letter is one about which I have not been 
in the habit of speaking until of late, when I have been constrained 
to do so in answering the inquiries of my friends, and also from 
the obligation I felt myself under to correct the falsehoods and 
misrepresentations which some of my political opponents have 
circulated for the purpose of injuring my standing in the estima- 
tion of the public. I am, very respectfully, 

Edward Coles. 



Coles to Thomas Slog Jr., June 30, 1823 

[I, Quarterly Publication oj 
y oj Ohio, 6: No. 3, 58] 

Edwardsville, June 30, 1823 



[Selections from the Torrence Papers, VII, Quarterly Publication oj the liistoriciu 
and Philosophical Society oj Ohio, 6: No. 3, 58] 



D[ea]r Sir 

In casting my eyes around to find a person well qualified for 
the situation, and at the same time who should be particularly 
pleasing to me personally, I have singled you out as the man I 
should prefer to appoint as an Aid-de-camp to the Commander- 
in-chief. I now offer you that appointment; and must request 
the favor of you to let me know, as soon [as] possible, whether it 
will be agreeable to you, or will suit your convenience, to accept 
it. It confers the rank, as you know, of Colonel, but at the same 
time imposes the expense, not only of an equipment, but that 
attendant upon accompanying the Commander-in-chief whenever 
he reviews the Militia, which by the way I shall do next October. 



264 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Whether you accept this situation or not, you will do me the 
justice, I trust, to believe that I derive a sincere pleasure in giving 
you this small testimony of that great respect and sincere regard 
which I have long cherished for you. 

Coles to Kane, January 15, 1824 
[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 52: 215-216] 

Vandalia Jan^: 15. 1824 
D'SiR 

On making a visit to Edwardsville a few days since, I reC*: 
your letter of Dec: 18, directed to that place, in which you request 
to be informed who are the Debtors to the Bank of Edwardsville, 
and such other information as I may possess, which it would be 
useful for you to know to enable you to conduct, to the best 
advantage for the U. S., a suit which you had just been employed 
to bring against the Bank, for the recovery of a large sum of 
money which had been deposited in the Bank by the Gov*. 

M''. Mason having shown me your letter to him, and the copy 
of his answer to you, I will not now repeat the information you 
are already in possession of, but only add such as it seems 
you have not received. 

I must premise that it has been now near two years since I 
have had occasion to enquire or to know any thing of the trans- 
actions of the Bank of Edwardsville — and of course many changes 
must have taken place during that time: and even when employed 
by the Gov*, to settle its account with the B[ank] there was on 
the part of the officers of tha[t insti]tution a great caution, and 
most extraordinary reluctance in letting me know any thing 
relative to the Bank, which it was possible to keep me ignorant of, 
and a positive, and even uncourteous refusal to exhibit the debts 
and credits, and in one word the solvency and ability of the 
Institution to refund the amount of the public deposites. 

In addition to the names, with which it seems you have 
already been furnished, I can add the following as being Debtors to 
the Bank at the time of my ineffectual attempt to settle the 
Gov*': account with it. In this State, Ch: W. Hunter — Robert 
Latham deceased (N. Edwards & B. Stephenson were, I believe, 



APPENDIX 265 

his administrators) Erastus Brown — Dan': Tollman — all of Madi- 
son County. In Missouri Robert Simpson — Justus Post (said to 
be paid) — Arthur Nelson (endorsed by E. B. Clemson of 111^) — 
John Hall (believed to have been paid) — Sam': Hammond — John 
R. Guy — Risdon H. Price (said to be settled) — J. B. N. Smith. 
In Kentucky Sam': H. Curd — Rich^ Boyce — J as: Johnson — and 
I have also been informed that his Brother-in-law Gen': [MS. torn] 
ayne of Kentucky, owes a considerable sum to the Bank. 

I always believed that the interest of the U. S. required 
t [Mi". /or«]uit should have been instantly instituted a [MS. torn] 
ssible all proceedings of the B [MS. torn] enjoined [MS. torn] 
refusing to pay or satisfactor[ily] adjust and secure the debt due 
Gov*:; and as I am fearful the U. S. has, and will continue to 
sustain injury from delay in enforcing its just and paramount 
claims on the Bank, I now think that every step, warranted by 
law, should be taken effectually to secure and speedily to enforce 
payment. 

If you should have occasion to go to St. Louis I would advise 
you to see R. Wash, who can give you more information than 
any other person of my acquaintance relative to the Bank of 
Edw"'"" 

Nothing else at this time occurs to me worth communicating. 
When the Court meets I shall have the pleasure of seeing you 
here, when I will cheerfully give you any further information 
I may possess. In the meantime I beg you to be assured of my 
great [MS. torn]t and sincere regard 

Edward Coles. 
To E. K. Kane, Esq: 
Kaskaskia 

Division of State by Coles into Electoral Districts, 

September 6, 1824 

[Illinois Gazette, September 18, 1824. Photostats in Illinois Historical Survey, 
from originals in Library of Congress] 

By the Governor of the State of Illinois. 

A Proclamation 

In pursuance of an act of the General Assembly of the State 

of Ilhnois, entitled "An act providing for the election of electors 



266 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of President and Vice President of the United States" approved 
March 2, 18 19, 1, Edward Coles, Governor of the State of Illinois, 
do hereby divide the said State into three electoral districts, as 
follows, to wit: 

The first district to consist of the Counties of Pike, Fulton, 
Sangamon, Morgan, Green, Madison, St. Clair, Bond, Mont- 
gomery and Fayette. 

The second district to consist of the counties of Edgar, Clark, 
Crawford, Lawrence, Wayne, Edwards, White, Gallatin, Hamil- 
ton and Marion. 

The third district to consist of the Counties of Monroe, 
Randolph, Jackson, Union, Alexander, Johnson, Pope, Franklin, 
Jefferson and Washington. 

IN testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed 
my name, and caused the seal of the state to be 
affixed at Vandalia this the first Monday in 
[seal] September (being the sixth day of the month) 

in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 
hundred and twenty four, and of the Indepen- 
dence of the United States the forty-ninth. 

Edward Coles. 
By the Governor^ 

David Blackwell, Secretary of State. 



Proclamation by Edward Coles Convening the General 

Assembly in Special Session, September 8, 1824 

[Illinois Gazette, September 25, 1824. Photostats in Illinois Historical Survey 
University of Illinois, from originals in Library of Congress] 

By the Governor of the State of Illinois. 
A Proclamation 
Whereas, by the ninth section of the third article of the 
constitution of the state of Illinois, the Governor may, on extra- 
ordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly by proclama- 
tion: and whereas, by an act entitled "An act providing for the 
electors of President and Vice President of the United States," 
approved March 2, 18 19, it is provided, that the returns of the 
election of said electors shall be investigated in the same manner 



APPENDIX 267 

as the election returns of representatives to congress are required 
to be, by the act to regulate elections, which act requires the 
election returns of representatives to congress, to be canvassed by 
the General Assembly; and whereas, the electors of President and 
Vice President to be elected in said state in November next, are 
required by law to meet and give their votes, before the day fixed 
by law for the commencement of the next session of the General 
Assembly: Now, therefore, I, Edward Coles, Governor of the 
state of Illinois, do by these presents, appoint Monday the 
fifteenth day of November next, for the meeting of the fourth General 
Assembly of said state, in the town of Vandalia; hereby requiring 
the respective Senators and Representatives then and there to 
assemble, to act and advise upon the matter aforesaid, and upon 
such other subjects as shall be submitted to them, and to consult 
and determine upon such measures as in their wisdom shall be 
deemed best calculated to promote the welfare of the state. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto sub- 
scribed my name, and caused the seal of state to be 
affixed, at Vandalia, this eighth day of September, 
[L. S.] in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 

and twenty-four, and of the Independence of the 
United States, the forty-ninth. 

Edward Coles. 
By the Governor, 

David Blackwell, 

Secretary of State. 



Governor's Message, November 16^,1824 

[Illinois Gazette, November 27, 1824. Photostats in Illinois Historical Survey, 
University of Illinois, from originals in Library of Congress] 

Fellow Citizens of the Senate, 

and of the House of Representatives. 
I have convened you at an earlier period than that fixed by 
law, to obviate a defect in the act entitled "An act providing for 
the election of electors of president and vice-president of the 
United States." By this act it is provided, that the returns of the 
election of electors of president and vice president shall be investi- 



268 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

gated in the same manner as the returns of the election of a mem- 
ber of Congress are required to be by the act to regulate elections; 
which act provides that the returns of the election of a member of 
Congress shall be investigated by the general assembly: and as 
the general assembly this year would not have met until after the 
time fixed by law for the assembling of the electoral college, it 
therefore became necessary to convene the general assembly, in 
order to legalize and render effective the vote of Illinois in the 
election of a president and vice president of the United States. 

It is expected that all the returns will be received at the office 
of the secretary of state on Friday next; as soon as they are, they 
shall be laid before you. 

Whilst I regret the necessity of calling you to the discharge 
of your official duties rather sooner than the appointed time, I 
feel great satisfaction in the belief that whilst it will not subject 
the members to any personal inconvenience, it will promote the 
public interest, not only in giving to our state her proper voice and 
influence in the election of a chief magistrate for the nation, but 
will also be attended with this further advantage, of affording an 
earlier opportunity to the representatives of the people to elect a 
senator to the congress of the United States in the place of Ninian 
Edwards. Notice of the resignation of Mr. Edwards was received 
too late last spring, as I conceived, for me to make an appointment 
in time for the individual to have reached Washington before the 
probable adjournment. If a successor to our late senator be now 
promptly appointed, he will be able to reach Washington very soon 
after the meeting of congress. 

It affords me peculiar gratification, on the convocation of the 
legislature, to congratulate the representatives of the people, on 
the increased and increasing devotion of our citizens to their 
rights, and attachment to their free institutions; on the continued 
peace and prosperity of our country; on the plentiful harvest with 
which the earth has rewarded the labourer; on the unusually good 
health enjoyed by our citizens for the last two years; and particu- 
larly on the truly propitious and happy decision, by a large 
majority, of the important question which has so greatly agitated 
the people of the state since the adjournment of the legislature. 
For these great and manifold blessings of a kind Providence, it 



APPENDIX 269 

becomes us to be grateful; and to show that we duly appreciate 
and are worthy of them, let us in imitation of Him from whom 
they emanate, make duly allowance for the frailties of human 
nature; let us assuage all perturbed passions and prejudices; 
allay the asperities of party feeling and cordially unite to correct 
past errors, and provide for the future the best means of promoting 
individual happiness and general prosperity. 

Among the past errors which operate most injuriously, and 
which are yet within legislative correction are the laws which have 
been passed for changing the long established mode of enforcing 
contracts, by substituting new legal provisions, not contemplated 
by the parties, by which their contracts have been materially 
changed, and even infringed. The constitution expressly pro- 
hibits the passage of any law impairing the validity of contracts. 
But if it were silent on this subject, a sense of justice would require 
an extraordinary and unlooked for, and even improbable state of 
things to justify an interference on the part of the legislature in 
contracts between individuals to the material injury of one party, 
and benefit of the other. Such interferences have a tendency to 
destroy punctuality, to impair confidence, and to injure the 
character of a community. It is not less the duty, than the true 
policy of a government strictly to comply with all its own engage- 
ments, and to enforce punctuality upon its citizens. It should 
ever be borne in mind, that character is capital, and that a people 
desirous of encreasing their resources and promoting their pros- 
perity, should preserve their faith inviolate. Whatever may have 
been the causes which produced these measures, it is not believed 
that the present state of things requires their continuance. I 
therefore recommend to the consideration of the legislature the 
propriety of repealing, as soon as may be deemed most equitable 
to those concerned, all new legal provisions which have been made 
for delaying or changing the obligation of contracts, and re- 
enacting the former and long established mode of enforcing them. 

The establishment of the state bank was another error com- 
mitted from the same impatient desire to relieve the community 
from what was called the pressure of the times, but which was 
chiefly produced by excessive issues of paper currency. This, like 
most other expedients of the kind, has had the effect to encrease 



270 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the evil it was intended to relieve. The great depreciation of its 
paper has been attended with embarrassment to the community, 
affecting very injuriously individual transactions, and has driven 
from circulation what remained of the precious metals. The 
honour of the state, and the interest of the people, individually 
and collectively, imperiously require that the wisdom of the legis- 
lature should be exerted in an especial manner to devise means for 
restoring the credit of the paper of the bank. 

Nothing short of a strict examination into the manner in 
which the bank has been conducted, and an exposition of its 
present situation, will be satisfactory to the people; and nothing 
short of legal provision for the extinction of the amounts paid in 
annual instalments, as well as by voluntary payments, and the 
prohibition of the re-issue of one dollar on any pretext whatever, 
unless it be for the necessary expenses of the situation, will sustain 
its credit and it is submitted to the wisdom of the legislature, 
whether those expenses could not be reduced, and the business 
better managed, by substituting for the bank a more simple 
agency for the superintendence and collection of the debts. 

In the observations I had the honour to make to the last 
legislature, I recommended that provision should be made for 
the abolition of the remnant of African slavery which still existed 
in this state. The full discussion of the principle and policy of 
personal slavery, which has taken place since that period resulting 
in its rejection by the decided voice of the people, still more 
imperiously makes it my duty again to call your attention in an 
especial manner to this subject, and earnestly to entreat you to 
make just and equitable provision for as speedy an abolition of 
this remnant of slavery, as may be deemed consistent with the 
rights and claims of the parties concerned. 

In close connection with this subject, is my former recom- 
mendation, to which I again solicit your attention, that the law, 
as it respects those held in service, should be rendered less severe, 
and more accordant with our political institutions and local 
situation; and that more severe penalties should be enacted 
against the unnatural crime of kidnapping, which then prevailed 
to a great extent, and has since considerably increased, in conse- 
quence of the defects of the present law. Regarding the former, 



APPENDIX 271 

our laws in general are a mere transcript of those of the more 
southern states, where the great number of slaves makes it neces- 
sary for the safety of the whites, that the laws for their govern- 
ment, and concerning free blacks, should be very strict. But, 
there being no such motive here, the necessity of such laws ceases, 
and consequently their injustice and cruelty are the more apparent. 
The latter are found every day mpre and more defective and in- 
efficient; and kidnapping has now become a regular trade, which 
is carried on to a vast extent to the country bordering on the lower 
Mississippi, up the Red River, and to the West Indies. To put 
an immediate and effectual stop to this nefarious traffic, is the 
imperious duty of the legislature. There can come before you no 
subject with a more direct appeal to the generous feelings of 
humanity, or with stronger claims on your sense of justice, than 
the exposed and defenseless condition of free persons of colour. 
And it is hoped that penalties more proportionate to the enormity 
of the crime, and provisions better adapted to counteract the 
facilities of committing it, arising from our particular local situa- 
tion, will be enacted. 

I also recommended to the last general assembly, the opening 
of navigable communications between the great lakes and the 
Wabash and Illinois rivers, and to effect these objects, that a 
portion of the revenue should be annually set apart to create and 
sustain a fund to be exclusively apportioned to internal improve- 
ments: and I suggested that humanity, no less than the interest of 
the state, called for the erection of a penitentiary. As further 
reflection has confirmed my sentiments regarding each of these 
measures, I beg leave now to renew my former recommendation. 

The report which will be made to you by the commissioners 
appointed by the last legislature to have surveys and estimates 
made of the expenses of opening a navigable communication 
between Lake Michigan and the Illinois river, will doubtless 
enable you to understand the subject and judge when, and in 
what manner, you can best execute that great and desirable work. 
I still cherish the belief that, under a judicious system, this, as 
well as the other important measure of opening, to co-operation 
with Indiana, the navigation between Lake Erie and the Wabash, 
may be accomplished in a much less time than has been supposed. 



272 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Our revenue is yearly increasing, and although when the currency 
recovers its value, it will be proper to reduce the taxes; yet, from 
the unusually large amount paid by non-resident proprietors of 
military bounty land, and the number and value of the Salines 
the revenue of Illinois will, for many years to come, be great in 
proportion to its population. Even now, with economy and judi- 
cious management, the Treasury might annually afford a sum 
which would be very serviceable in the great and salutary work 
of internal improvement. It has long been a favourite opinion 
with me, that states situated like Illinois, should establish a fund 
for internal improvements: and I would particularly invite the 
attention of the legislature to this interesting subject, and I 
persuade myself it will meet with a favorable consideration, 
especially when they reflect that this fund may be created and 
supported from the sources above named, without increasing the 
demand upon the pockets of our citizens: they will also reflect 
that the amount which would thus be withheld from circulation, 
until it would be sufficiently large to be used for some beneficial 
purpose, would have the effect of diminishing the quantity of state 
paper, and of course, of increasing the value of that which remained 
in circulation; consequently, while the fund would be accumulat- 
ing by the additions which from time to time might be made to it, 
its intrinsic value would also be greatly increased by the apprecia- 
tion of the currency. 

Agreeably to the provisions of the "Act relating to the river 
Wabash," a correspondence has taken place between the Execu- 
tives of Indiana and Illinois, and Commissioners have been 
appointed on the part of the two states to examine the obstruc- 
tions, and make the requisite surveys and estimates. This cor- 
respondence, together with the report of the Commissioners, with 
letters of explanation from the Illinois Commissioner, are herewith 
transmitted to the General Assembly. From these documents it 
appears that the obstructions in the river may be removed without 
difficulty. Being convinced that the improvement is practicable, 
and within the ability of the two states, I am particularly solicitous 
that the Legislature of Illinois should make every effort to co- 
operate with Indiana in a work of such incalculable importance 
to the prosperity of both states. 



APPENDIX 273 

In consequence of the memorial which was addressed by the 
last Legislature to the President of the United States he authorized 
me to select the i,S sections of land which had been granted by 
Congress to this state for the use of a Seminary of Learning. 
Being desirous of making the most of this Important fund, and 
being sensible that the responsibility of making the selections was 
considerably increased by the number of persons who had settled 
upon the public lands, I deputed John Messinger, Curtiss Blake- 
man, and R. K. M'Laughlin, to examine the country which had 
not yet been brought into market, and to report to me such tracts 
as they thought ought to be selected for the seminary. \n con- 
sequence of the excessive rains which rendered the streams im- 
passable, the individuals deputed were prevented from making 
so extensive an examination as was desirable; and much valuable 
land, bordering on the Illinois river, not being then surveyed, I 
determined to select and report to the Land Office only such tracts 
as had been selected [in] the district of country about to be offered 
for sale. It was my intention this autumn to have completed the 
examination of the country, and the selection of the Seminary 
Land; but the disposition of one of the individuals I intended 
to employ, and my own illness, prevented anything from being 
done. This however Is the less to be regretted, as delay In com- 
pleting the selection will be attended with the good consequences 
of giving us better and further information. Twenty sections 
of land has been selected, a list of which accompanies this for the 
Information of the General Assembly. 

The amount of the contingent fund, then In the Treasury, 
not being such as to justify the drawing on It, the Individuals 
employed to select the Seminary Lands were Informed that they 
would have to rely for remuneration on the justice and liberality 
of the Legislature. 

I have authorized a person In Sangamon, and another in 
Morgan, as agents of the state, to superintend the Seminary 
Lands, and prevent depredations. It will be necessary that legal 
provision be made for this purpose; and also for reading out the 
lands, and thus putting them In a situation to yield a revenue as 
soon as possible towards the beneficent purpose for which they 
were granted. Difficulties sometimes arise In the protection of 



274 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

lands, from the defect in the law in relation to trespass, to which 
I would invite your attention. If the trespasser should not possess 
more property than the law exempts from execution, he pays 
nothing, goes unpunished and can continue to trespass with im- 
punity. 

In the year 1822 the Treasurer received the sum of $5,955.82 
from the Treasury of the United States; it being a portion of the 
three percent, fund, derived from the sale of lands, and appropria- 
ted by Congress for the encouragement of learning. No disposi- 
tion was made of this fund by the last legislature; and when the 
Bank was robbed in March, 1823, $861.73 of it were taken and 
have not since been recovered. I would suggest whether it would 
not, for the present, be the best disposition of this fund to author- 
ize its investment, with such additions as may from time to time 
be received, in some productive stocks yielding an interest, and 
at all times convertible into cash. 

From circumstances of hardship, which have fallen under 
my observation, I feel it a duty to invite your attention to the 
subject of lands the property of non-residents, sold through default 
of the payment of taxes. It appears that many owners of these 
lands, from the remoteness of their residence, or their absence on 
distant voyages, have of necessity depended on agents for the 
payment of their taxes; that in many instances these agents have, 
through neglect, dishonesty, or other causes, proved unfaithful. 
The lands have been sold, and the year of redemption has elapsed, 
before the circumstance has come to the knowledge of the pro- 
prietors. I ask the attention of the Legislature to this subject, 
and would suggest the propriety of extending the term allowed for 
the redemption of the lands of non-residents, which may hereafter 
be sold for the payment of taxes. 

There is no subject claiming the attention of the Legislature 
of more vital importance to the welfare of the state, and its future 
greatness and respectability, than the provisions which should be 
made for the education of the rising and succeeding generations. 
Intelligence and virtue are the main pillars in the temple of Liberty. 
A government founded on the sovereignity of the people, and 
resting on and controlled by them, cannot be respectable, or even 
long endure, unless they are enlightened. To preserve and hand 



APPENDIX 275 

down to a continuous line of generations that liberty which was 
obtained by the valor and virtue of our forefathers, we must make 
provision for the moral and intellectual improvement of those who 
are to follow us, and who are to inherit and have the disposal of the 
inestimable boon of self-government. The United States has 
made a most liberal provision in lands for Township Schools, and 
a University. But, from the present superabundance of lands, 
these will not be productive of much revenue for many years to 
come; they should however be strictly husbanded as a rich source 
of supply from which to supply future generations with the means 
of education. In the meantime would it not be wise to make 
legal provision to assist in the support of local schools? 

Considerable efforts have been made by the Executive to 
effect a compliance with the law which requires annual returns to 
be made to the Adjutant General of the number of the militia. I 
regret to be compelled to state that these efforts have failed, and 
that such are the defects of the law that it cannot be enforced. 
It is to be particularly regretted that this neglect of the officers 
to perform their duty, has occasioned considerable loss to the 
state, in the late apportionment of arms, received from the Federal 
Government. A portion of the arms received by my predecessor, 
was put in the hands of a company in Randolph county. The 
portion received last year remains in store at Shawneetown. It is 
respectfully submitted to the Legislature, in regard to these and 
any future arms which may be received from the United States, to 
direct whether they should be preserved in an arsenal, to be used 
when wanted in defence of the country, or be distributed to the 
militia; and if the latter, what securities should be required for 
their preservation. 

In a free government where the law is supreme, controlling 
equally the governors and the governed, and where provision is 
made for the adjustment of the diversified relations between man 
and man, it is of the first importance that the laws should be 
attainable by all and so explicit as to be, as far as possible, within 
the comprehension of all. To effect this essential purpose, our 
sister states have been in the habit, from time to time, of revising 
their laws, and publishing them in a digested code. This code, 
when judiciously compiled, classes the subjects in so systematic 



276 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

and simple a manner, that a plain hard working farmer may in a 
few minutes ascertain the law on any common question; and the 
volume is so reduced in size and price as to be within the means 
of every citizen to procure. This is of immense advantage to the 
great body of the people, and saves them much time and expense in 
seeking the opinion of lawyers on simple cases, where it is easy to 
render the law plain and explicit. Under these impressions, I 
respectfully suggest the propriety of appointing some one or more 
persons learned in the law to compile a digested code of our laws, 
incorporating into it as much of the common law as practicable, 
to be submitted to the consideration and approval of the next 
General Assembly. 

As much inconvenience is often felt by every branch of the 
government, and particularly by the Judiciary, for the want of a 
library at the seat of government, I am induced to suggest to your 
consideration the propriety of making a small annual appropriation 
to this object. 

We had the misfortune in December last to have the state 
house consumed by fire. With the circumstances which caused 
this disaster, I am not particularly acquainted. The citizens of 
Vandalia have since rebuilt it, and will doubtless not be disap- 
pointed in their just expectation of being reimbursed the expenses 
they have incurred in thus providing for the public accommodation. 

On the first day of January, 1823, there remained in the 
Treasury the sum of 133,661.11; from that day until the first of 
November, 1824, the receipts amounted to 181,966.30; during 
the same period the disbursements amounted to ^79,868.37; 
leaving a balance in the treasury of 135,756.04. 

It was my intention to have visited the state Salines this 
autumn. But having been prevented by ill health, I must content 
myself with referring you for information on this interesting sub- 
ject to the Report which will be laid before you by the saline 
agent. 

By the Constitution it is made the duty of the General Assem- 
bly, at its present session, to organize the Courts and appoint the 
Judges thereof. It is left to the wisdom of the General Assembly 
to determine whether the Judges of the Supreme Court shall, in 
future, perform circuit duties, or whether inferior Judges shall be 



APPENDIX 277 

appointed for this purpose. The chief objections to the appoint- 
ment of Circuit Judges, at this time, are, that there is very httle 
business in the Supreme Court, and that the Judges thereof could 
perform circuit duties with ease to themselves and advantage to 
the public; also that the appointment of Circuit Judges would 
greatly add to the expenses of the state; and it is feared, in the 
present early stage injuriously multiply officers, the selection of 
whom is rendered the more difficult and important from the cir- 
cumstance of their holding their offices during good behavior. 
Whether the General Assembly shall, however, think proper to 
organize one or both of these Courts, I take leave to urge on the 
members the necessity of paying great attention to the selection 
of Judges. It is one of the most important and responsible duties 
that you will have to perform during the present session. When it 
is recollected that the Judges are now to be appointed during good 
behavior; that they will occupy the most important station in 
society; that our lives and fortunes may depend on their wisdom 
and virtue; it should awaken in the members the most serious 
reflection on the importance of their choice, and their obligation 
to lay aside personal prejudices and partialities, and assidiously 
endeavor to select the best men, those most distinguished for 
their capacity, their requirements, their principles, and their 
moral character. 

Edward Coles. 
November i6, 1824 



Governor's Message, December 5, 1826 

[Senate Journal, 1826, pp. 18-28] 

Fellow Citizens of the Senate 

and of the House of Representatives. 
On this the fiftieth year of our existence as an independent 
nation, it is a source of much felicitation to find our beloved 
country in the full enjoyment of its rights and liberties, and of 
every social blessing. But above all, to witness the wonderful 
success of our political institutions, in preserving the peace, and 
in promoting the prosperity, happiness, and glory of our country. 
On such an occasion, the functionaries of the government, repre- 



278 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

senting a people who look upon their liberties as the gift of God, 
and as the greatest of all earthly blessings, cannot but derive infi- 
nite gratification, when convened for the sovereign duties of 
legislation, in mingling their congratulations and uniting in fervent 
gratitude to the Author of our beings, for the signal aid and provi- 
dential care and protection extended to us, in acquiring our inde- 
pendence, in establishing our liberty, in guarding our rights, and 
in promoting our happiness. The bosom of every American swells 
with emotions of joy and gratitude, when he reflects on the rise 
and progress of his country, from its first settlement by the victims 
of religious and civil persecution, to its present proud eminence 
among the Nations of the world; when he reflects on its infant, but 
heroic struggle against the oppression ofits powerful parent country, 
resulting in the establishment of civil and religious freedom, on 
the sacred principle of the equal rights of man, by a constitution 
of government, as unique as it is felicitous, and which is not less 
the just pride of our country, than the admiration of the world. 
It would seem to be almost supernatural, that a country settled 
about 200 years ago, and but half a century since it assumed its 
station among the nations of the earth, should already be one of 
the most powerful, and the model for the imitation of all. Whilst 
we should adhere to such a country, and cherish with a fervent 
and holy zeal its inestimable institutions, we cannot too much 
revere the memory of those who achieved so much for us and for 
mankind. Two of the most efficient in this great work, after 
having been permitted by a kind Providence to assist in adminis- 
tering the government, and witnessing its good effects for fifty 
years, were on the National Jubilee taken from the scene of their 
good works to that of their great rewards. On the 4th day of July 
last, Thomas Jefferson, the renowned Author of the Declaration 
of Independence, and John Adams, its ablest advocate, ceased to 
live! Thus sanctifying by their deaths a day rendered glorious 
by the most important event of their lives, and in the history of 
their country. That these two Fathers and Ex-Presidents of the 
Republic, one of whom draughted the Declaration of Independence 
the other seconded the motion which led to its adoption, both 
members of the select committee which reported it, and constitut- 
ing at the time of their deaths two out of the only three surviving 



APPENDIX 279 

signers of that memorable instrument, should have died on the 
same day, and that day the fiftieth anniversary since its adoption, 
is such an extraordinary coincidence, that it would seem as if 
Heaven were desirous of increasing our reverence for our liberty 
and independence, and for the memory of those who were so 
instrumental in achieving it. This melancholy bereavement has 
placed the nation in mourning; and it has been a subject of regret 
that the sparce population of Illinois has prevented its citizens 
from publicly manifesting their respect for the memories of these 
two great statesmen of our country and benefactors of mankind. 
The General Assembly, in gratifying their own feelings, will but 
truly represent those of the people, by giving a public manifesta- 
tion of the highest estimation in which the character and services 
of Jefferson and Adams are held, of grief felt for their loss, and of 
gratitude to Providence for giving, and permitting them so long 
to remain, to labour for the benefit of our country and of the 
world. 

There is one painful circumstance connected with this mourn- 
ful event which makes a direct appeal to the best feelings of our 
nature. Thomas Jefferson, pre-eminent as a sage and a philan- 
thropist, as a statesman and as a patriot; the author of the Decla- 
ration of Independence; the great political reformer, to whose 
strong, bold and original genius we are in a great degree indebted 
for our civil and religious freedom, and for our correct understand- 
ing of the rights of man and of nations; he who was first in the 
cabinet, as Washington was first in the field, in acquiring our 
liberty and independence; and, as the Chief Magistrate of the 
Republic, doubled its territory, extending it south to the Gulf of 
Mexico, and west to the Pacific Ocean, and that not by conquest 
but by a judicious and equitable purchase; — after having devoted 
sixty one years of his life to the service of his country, to the 
neglect of his pecuniary affairs, whilst his losses and expenditures 
were greatly augmented, by the fluctuation in the value of 
property, and a misplaced confidence, and particularly by the 
concourse of persons who were induced to visit him from the 
celebrity he had acquired for his wisdom, virtue and pre-eminent 
services in the cause of his country, and of human rights, found 
himself involved in debt to such an extent that nearly all his 



280 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

property, even Monticello, his favorite residence, where are now 
deposited his remains, will have to be sold! It will ever be a 
mortifying reflection that this fact was known six months before 
his death, and yet no effectual relief was extended to this great 
Patriarch of the Republic, who has devoted his whole life, and 
sacrificed his patrimony in its service. The opportunity, however, 
is still afforded his countrymen to remove this reproach, and to 
indulge their affectionate and grateful feelings, by contributing to 
the payment of his debts, and thus enable his accomplished 
Daughter, and her numerous family, who he has left to his country, 
to retain possessions rendered the more valuable and precious to 
them from having been owned by their illustrious parent. In 
what manner Illinois should contribute her proportion of this just 
claim on the gratitude of the Republic, will be determined by her 
generous and magnanimous Representatives. 

There is a great interest felt in the proceedings of the present 
General Assembly, from the circumstances of its having to pass 
upon the Digest of the Laws, which has been prepared by order 
of the Legislature. To correct the incongruities in our present 
code, and to make the Digest as perfect as the people have a right 
to expect, will require considerable labour, and the most assidious 
and watchful attention. The experience of our sister states, as 
well as that of our own, will, I trust, leave no room to doubt, that 
it is not less promotive of the true interest of the people, than of 
the prosperity and character of the State, to preserve the stability 
of the laws for the enforcement of contracts, and to be exceedingly 
cautious in changing them, and resorting to temporary expedients, 
calculated to produce momentary relief but ultimate distress. The 
people of Illinois having experienced great injury from this 
erroneous and short sighted system, it is to be hoped that every 
necessary measure will now be adopted to bring it to a close; and 
that it will not again be resorted to; but, in future, industry 
and economy will be encouraged as the best means, under the 
protection of good laws, for relieving the temporary embarrass- 
ments, and promoting the permanent prosperity of the people: — 
And I will suggest, as another means well calculated to promote 
this great object, that the system of Jurisprudence should be more 
simplified, and in its operation made more prompt, efficient, and 



APPENDIX 281 

economical, for the protection and enforcement of the rights of the 
citizens. 

The defects in our criminal code will also claim your attention, 
especially the disproportion of punishments to crimes, which too 
frequently call for the interposition of executive clemency. The 
want of a State Prison subjects the counties to a heavy expense, and 
often induces the citizens to petition for the pardon of a criminal 
merely to rid the country of the expense attendant on his imprison- 
ment. To relieve this inconvenience, as well as to equalize and 
•promote the great ends of punishment, the State should erect a 
Penitentiary. And believing as I do, that it has the means of 
erecting one sufficiently large for present use, and that it can be 
conveniently built in a form admitting of future enlargement, I 
should be wanting in my duty were I not again to recommend it 
to your favourable consideration; and the more so, as I consider 
it a most just, wise, and humane system, and one which should 
embrace the punishment of every crime, to the exclusion of that 
sanguinary and exterminating code, which gives to aggregated man 
a power which nature, it is acknowledged, has not given to indi- 
vidual man, of deliberately depriving of life, and sending from 
time to eternity a fellow-being, who, however wicked, is defenseless 
and can be rendered harmless, and made useful to himself and to 
others. I fondly indulge the hope, that the time is not distant 
when the just, liberal, and philanthropic principles of our govern- 
ment, will so far get the better of error and prejudice, and conform 
to the great fundamental laws of nature, and of nature's God, as 
no longer to sanction by law the taking of human life, either by 
communities or individuals, except in self defence. 

In revising and publishing a digested code of the laws, I 
cannot but call your attention in an especial manner to the existing 
provisions in relation to that unfortunate class of our fellow-beings, 
the descendants of Africa, and earnestly recommend that they be 
amended, and made less repugnant to our political institutions and 
local situation. On two former occasions, under a strong sense 
of duty, I urged the gradual abolition of the remnant of slavery 
which still exists in violation of the fundamental laws of the State, 
and an amelioration of our code in relation to free Negroes. I 
now emphatically renew, and earnestly press this recommendation. 



282 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

But if the Legislature shall still think proper to decline abolishing 
slavery, then I beseech the Representatives of a people who love 
liberty, and have resolved that their land shall be the land of the 
free, to adopt such measures as will ultimately put an end to 
slavery. Let us at least cut the entail, and not give what is 
wrong a legal descent, but fix the time when servitude in Illinois 
shall cease. — This is due to our principles and consistency, and may 
promote the interest of the claimant to property, by lulling the 
claimant to liberty, and prevent the question from being adjudi- 
cated, as it has been in a neighbouring State. It is also requisite 
that provision should be made, not only for loosening the fetters 
of those in servitude, but for the security and protection of free 
persons of colour. It is not deemed good policy to encourage 
their emigration; but it is due alike to their rights, as to the char- 
acter of the State, and the feelings of its citizens, that those who 
are here, or who may be admitted, should be secured in the enjoy- 
ment of their personal rights. To effect which it is indispensable 
that the law should be altered, and so far from considering every 
coloured person a slave, unless he can produce the written evidence 
of his freedom, in Illinois, every man should be presumed free 
until the contrary is made to appear. 

The State Bank, an unfortunate expedient, resorted to for 
relief from a temporary pressure, created by the excessive issue 
of a paper currency, having been productive of much derangement 
and loss to the State and County Treasuries, and embarrassment 
to individuals, and having operated very injuriously to the interest 
and character of the State, has, I am happy to say at length, so 
far recovered its credit, as to cease in a great degree the deleterious 
effects arising from the depreciation of its notes; which from 
having sunk to one fourth, have now risen to near three fourths of 
their nominal value. This appreciation of the value of the notes 
of the Bank, whilst it operates most beneficially to the interest of 
the Government and of the community, is prejudicial to the 
interest of the debtors of the Bank. But they have obtained 
loans from the Bank at a time when its notes were nearly equal to 
specie, and in most, if not all cases, paid with them specie debts; 
and the loss attendant on their depreciation having fallen, not on 
those who borrowed them, but on those to whom they were paid, 



APPENDIX 283 

and on the community generally, it would be unreasonable in the 
Bank debtors to wish any course taken which would depreciate the 
value of the notes, to the great injury of the community, which 
has already sustained so great a loss by an institution established 
for their benefit, and who have, by its means, been enabled to pay 
off old debts, by obtaining loans to be repaid in ten equal annual 
instalments. And as its Charter prohibited any one (except 
Directors, who were privileged as such to receive $750) from 
receiving more than $100 on personal security, or $1,000 on a 
pledge of real estate, there cannot be any of that individual distress 
which would justify the resorting to measures which would have 
the injurious effect of depreciating the currency and credit of the 
State, or of increasing its liability for the debts of the Bank, by 
offering a great discount for prompt payment; or of extending the 
time, and of course the risk, of re-payment of the loans. The 
crisis in the affairs of the Bank has now passed, and if no measure 
should be adopted by the Legislature to injure its credit, we shall 
soon cease to feel its ill effects. From every view I can take of the 
subject, I am fully impressed with the belief that there is no need 
of Legislative interference with the Bank, except to reduce its 
expenditures, and render more efficient its administration, by 
substituting a more simple, economical, and efficient agency for 
the management and collection of its debts. 

To enable me to impart to the Legislature full and correct 
information of the manner in which the institution has been 
conducted, I called on the cashiers for detailed reports of the pro- 
ceedings and present situation of the Principal Bank and its 
branches. Having this subject much at heart, I have been 
greatly disappointed by the cashier of the principal bank not 
having furnished the information to the extent asked for; and in 
receiving no report from the branch at Shawneetown, in conse- 
quence of the recent death of its cashier, and the refusal of his 
administrator to surrender the bank to his successor. To the 
reports herewith transmitted, and to the general condition of the 
bank, I invite the particular attention and rigid scrutiny of the 
Legislature. From these reports it will be seen, that there have 
been loaned and reloaned at the principal bank, and at the Ed- 
wardsville, Palmyra, and Brownsville branches, $215,000, of 



284 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

which 1109,615, have been repaid, and $105,384 remain to be paid 
during the next five years; that their aggregate annual expense is 
$4,600, and the whole amount of expense incurred since their 
establishment is $43,820 — exceeding the amount of the profits 
accruing on the loans by about $11,000; which, after deducting 
the value of the bank buildings, is the amount of loss up to the 
present time, exclusive of that arising from bad debts and insuffi- 
cient security, at the principal bank, and three out of its four 
branches. And as the profits on discounts will in future be lessened, 
as well from the diminution of the amount loaned, as from the 
addition of interest accumulated on the notes; and as the probable 
loss from bad debts will be greater in the termination than in the 
early stages of the institution, the Legislature will see the necessity 
of retrenching the expenditures of the Bank, and of affording every 
facility of winding it up with as little ultimate loss as possible to 
the State. 

There had been issued by the Auditor, and were outstanding 
against the Treasury, on the first day of January last, $45,763.58 
of warrants; since then the demands on the Treasury have 
amounted to $47, 096.25, making the aggregate sum of $92,859.83. 
To meet which, there were in the Treasury, on the first of January, 
$5,502, and have since been received $51,620.12; and in the course 
of this month, there will be received from Sheriffs for the taxes of 
this year, about $7,500, and in the next month $26,658.71 from 
the sale of lands now advertised for taxes — making the aggregate 
sum of $91,280.83. From which it appears, that if the taxes 
should be realized from the sale of lands, there will be in January 
a balance against the Treasury, on account of warrants heretofore 
issued of $1,579. 

The rate of taxation is nominally higher in Illinois than in 
the neighboring states, and is oppressive to its citizens, and if 
continued will operate injuriously to the prosperity of the State. 
The depreciation of our currency has had the effect of greatly 
reducing the taxes; and as the former rises in value, it is proper 
that the latter should be lowered. To show that the taxes can 
and ought to be reduced, I will state that the annual revenue 
derived from a tax on land, amounts to upwards of $45,000; 
whilst the average annual expenditure of the State, on the sup- 



i 



APPENDIX 285 

position that there will be no extra session of the Legislature, will 
not exceed ^23,000 in specie; even should it be deemed expedient, 
which it is not presumed it will, to continue the present unneces- 
sarily large & expensive judiciary. Without therefore taking into 
the estimate the revenue accruing from the Salines and Vandalia 
lots, if the currency were at par, there might be a reduction in the 
present nominal taxes of near fifty per cent. But considering its 
present depreciation, and on the presumption that nothing will be 
done to depress it, or increase the liability of the State for the debts 
of the Bank, and making due allowance for special appropriations, 
and contingent expenses, I recommend a reduction of twenty-five 
per cent, on the amount of the taxes; under the firm conviction 
that three-fourths of our present nominal revenue, will be amply 
sufficient to defray the ordinary expenses of the Government, and 
leave an excess which will be annually increasing as well from the 
additional quantity of land subject to taxation, as the apprecia- 
tion of the currency to be applied to the great and vital objects of 
education and internal improvements. And under a strong sense 
of its propriety and importance to the well being of the Treasury, I 
renew the recommendation I made on a former occasion, that the 
Auditor should not be required to issue his warrants for the state 
paper, but specie value of the demands on the Treasury; and also, 
that the collectors of the revenue should be required to account 
for and pay over the particular kind of money which they may 
receive. As the orders or warrants of many of the counties are at 
a much greater discount than state paper, this provision is more 
needed, and, if adopted, would prove more beneficial in the collec- 
tion of county than of state revenue. 

The present mode of selling lands annually for the default in 
the payment of taxes, and the forfeiture of them if not redeemed 
in two years claims the serious consideration of the Legislature, 
both as it respects the propriety and policy of the proceeding. 
Under the impression that the penalty is disproportionate to the 
offence, and that it does not become a just and paternal govern- 
ment to deprive its citizens of their lands for so trifling an omission 
of duty, nor a wise and provident one to jeopardize or disturb the 
title to a large portion of the said estate of the community and to 
make so vast a hotbed of litigation; and believing, as I do, that 



286 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the collection of the revenue can be enforced by penalties less 
ruinous, to the defaulters and less pernicious in their consequences 
to the community, I conceive it my duty to invite the attention 
of the Legislature to this interesting subject, and to suggest for its 
consideration, either that a much longer period be allowed for the 
redemption of land sold for taxes, during which time the owners 
should be required to pay a high annual interest; or that lands 
should not be annually sold for the taxes, but that a penalty of a 
given percent should be incurred for want of punctuality in the 
payment of them, and an high annual interest charged on the 
amount due, which should act as a lien on the land for a specified 
number of years, when it should be sold or forfeited to the State; 
and all the Interest which should thus accrue above some ten or 
fifteen per cent per annum, should be applied to the promotion of 
education. 

I lay before the Legislature a Report of the Superintendent 
of the Gallatin County Saline, made in pursuance of an act of the 
last session of the General Assembly; and renew the recommenda- 
tion, made to that session, that the mode of leasing the Saline be 
changed from a stipulated rent for a term of years, to a specific 
duty on each bushel of Salt manufactured. This change recom- 
mends itself from its being less hazardous to the manufacturer, 
and more safe and productive to the State. When the lots of the 
Saline are leased for a term of years at a fixed rent, however 
valuable they may prove, the state receives but the stipulated 
sum, when, on the other hand, the leases prove bad bargains, or 
the lessees bad managers, the rent Is not paid, and the parties 
petition, and generally with success, to be released from the pay- 
ment of the rent, although the lots under good management, 
might have yielded annually a considerable quantity of salt. 
Our statutes show, that In the last four years, the State has released 
and actually lost about $5,000: and in the accompanying report 
is seen that of the rent accrued for the last three years, $10,920 
have been released on the condition of the Lessees making certain 
Improvements at the Saline, and it appears from the Auditor's 
books that there is now due a considerable sum for rent, metal, &c. 
If the manufacturers were required to pay In proportion to the 
amount of salt made, there would be to them no accumulation of 



APPENDIX 287 

debt, nor risk of being ruined, nor to the State of entire loss of the 
rent, or occasion for relief acts, but a just proportion of the value 
of whatever salt was made would flow promptly and regularly 
into the State Treasury. 

In fulfillment of the duty imposed by the Legislature, the 
Executive has endeavored to ascertain the terms on which a loan 
could be procured by the State, for the purpose of constructing a 
Canal from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River. But owing to 
the great fluctuation and depression of the money market, and the 
uncertainty of its situation during the next year, capitalists were 
reluctant to commit themselves as to any specific terms on which 
they would be willing to make a loan at so remote a period. From 
the best information, however, which has been received, it is 
confidently believed, that if Congress should make a liberal grant 
of land, there will be no difficulty on the part of the State, in 
obtaining a loan at six per cent, per annum. Considering the 
favourable manner in which our application for a grant of land 
was received by Congress, at its last session, would it not be wise 
in the Legislature, to adopt at its present session, preparatory 
measures to commence this great work of improvement, predicated 
on a liberal grant of land being made by Congress previous to the 
meeting of the next General Assembly. 

By a statement furnished by the Commissioner of the General 
Land Office it appears, that there have accrued to this State for 
the use of Schools 114,316.10, from three per cent, on the nett 
proceeds on the sale of Public Lands within it, from January i, 
1819, to June 30, 1826. Of this sum $11,657.88 have been received 
by the State, and the Commissioners of the School Fund have, 
with 110,877.38 of it, purchased $29,135.50 of Auditor's Warrants. 
I recommend that the amount of these Warrants be made produc- 
tive, by being vested in the notes of the State Bank, which bear an 
interest. 

Of the thirty-six sections of land granted to this State, by 
Congress, for the use of a Seminary of learning, I have, under the 
authority of the President of the United States, had twenty-six 
selected and reserved from sale. Entertaining doubts of the 
propriety of selecting some of the sections designated by the Com- 
missioners deputed for that purpose, and as they were situated in a 



288 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

district of country not yet brought into market, it has been thought 
best for the interest of the State, that the remaining ten sections 
of Seminary land should not be definitively acted on, but further 
time allowed to obtain more certain information, and, if possible, 
to make better selections. 

My constitutional term of service being about to expire, I 
avail myself of this occasion again to make my acknowledgments 
to my fellow-citizens for the honorable confidence they have 
reposed in me; and to assure them that if I have not discharged 
to their satisfaction all the duties of the station assigned me, it has 
arisen from no want of disposition, or of anxious and indefatigable 
efforts on my part to promote their interest, and advance the 
prosperity of the State. — The fiscal embarrassments occasioned by 
the Bank, and the agitation of an unfortunate question, which 
distracted the councils, and disturbed the harmony and social 
order of the community, have added to the duties and increased 
the difficulties in the administration of the Government. But 
having now in a great degree gotten rid of the ill effects of these, 
and other injudicious measures, I retire from it, with the pleasing 
reflection, that, if profiting by experience, a wise and prudent 
course should be pursued, we have every reason to anticipate a 
rapid increase of the population and resources of the State, and 
of the prosperity and happiness of its citizens. 

Edward Coles. 
Executive Department, 
December 5, 1826. 

Coles to Eddy, December 9, 1826 
[Eddy MSS.j 

Vandalia Dec: 9. 1826 
D' Sir: 

From what you told me when I had last the pleasure of seeing 
you, I had hoped to have seen you here before this, prepared to 
go to the Eastward. I am sorry to hear from Judge Brown that 
you have gi[v]en over your contemplated tour. I expect to set 
out some time next week, and should have been much gratified 
to have had your company. 



APPENDIX 289 

I believed I have paid for the 111^ Gazette up to about this 
time, and as I shall be absent from home for four or five months, 
I wish the paper not sent to me again until you hear from me, in 
other words I wish it discontinued for the present. 

With great respect & esteem yours 

Edward Coles 
[Addressed:] Henry Eddy Esq: Shawneetown 
[Endorsed:] Gov. Coles 9 Dec. 1826. 



Coles to Thomas Sloo Jr., February 15, 1827 

s, VII., Quarterly Publication of the Hi 
'ociety of Ohio, 6: No. 3, 58] 

Washington Feb[ruary] 15,1827 



[Selections from the Torrence Papers, VII., Quarterly Publication oj the Historical 
and Philosophical Society oj Ohio, 6; No. 3, 58] 



My Dear Sir: 

Owing to my having been detained in Virginia, by the busi- 
ness which took me there, I did not reach this until the 5th instant, 
when I had the pleasure to receive your letter of 8th ult[imo] 
previous to which however your fathers letter to the Com[mis- 
sioner] of the Gen[era]l Land Office had been delivered by Mr. 
Kane. I immediately waited on the Com[missioner] read with 
him your Fathers letter, and made to him, and afterwards to the 
Sec[retary] of the Treasury, and his chief clerk, all the explana- 
tions necessary to a thorough understanding of the subject; and 
from what passed I think there will be no hesitation, when the 
subject of compensation for clerk hire is passed upon by the 
Sec[retar]y, to allow your Father the amount claimed by him viz: 
as much as is allowed to any other Register in whose office the 
same am[oun]t of labour was performed. There are several other 
Land Officers who are in the same situation; unable to produce 
vouchers from the death or removal of the clerks employed. 
There will of course be one uniform rule established, and from 
what I can gather from the Secretarys conversation it will be a 
liberal one. I have explained to him in detail the amount of 
labour done by your Brothers, and every thing in relation to your 
Fathers case; and also of the hardships of other cases, especially 
of that of Mr Humphries of Kaskaskia, who employed no clerk, 
but performed all the labour himself. I have adduced other 



290 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

cases, and by various illustrations endeavoured to show that 
sheer justice required that clerk hire should not be allowed by the 
vouchers only, but other considerations, all of which I explain to 
him, should be taken into the estimate; and gave it as my opinion 
that the most just and equitable mode would be by an exact 
appointment of clerk hire to the labour performed; whether per- 
formed by the principal, by his children, or by hired clerks. Vouch- 
ers have not yet been rec[eive]d from the different Land Officers, 
they are however coming in from time to time. But such is 
the press of business at this time, that if the vouchers were all 
in, the Sec[retary] would not have timiC to attend to it until after the 
adjournment of Congress. 

Before my arrival here the Sec[retary] of War had appointed 
young Menard, on the recommendation of Cook, as the Indian 
Agent at Peoria; and also had filled the vacancy at Chicago, of 
the existence of which I was unappraised until my arrival here, 
by the app[ointmen]t of some one from Virginia. I spoke very 
freely in disapprobation of this last app[ointmen]t to the Sec- 
retary, told him it was disrespectful to the State, and unjust to 
its citizens, that we did not claim as a right to share in the loaves 
and fishes, but that we did to the crumbs which fell from the 
public board on our soil. But it was then too late to reconsider, 
the app[ointmen]t had been made. I cannot but think if I had 
been here I could have prevented it, and if I could not have 
gotten it for a friend, I could at least have had it confered on a 
citizen of the State. 

I find prevailing here an extraordinary degree of excitement 
among the active politicians. Men who were heretofore of the 
same party are now separated; and as to the boundaries of party 
are not well defined, there is a good deal of jostling and irritation. 
Each one makes himself the standard, and charges upon the 
other a dereliction of principle or a desertion of friends. From 
the language of the late supporters of our friend Crawford, among 
whom were the purest Republicans of the country, you would 
suppose this the age oi evil alternatives-^ for they neither like Adams 
or Jackson, and are driven, they say, to a choice of evils; and are 
unfortunately divided in opinion as to the greatest evil. I was 
much gratified two nights since, in explaining our Illinois politics. 



APPENDIX 291 

and the causes which led to Edwards election, and speaking of 
you as a good Crawfordite, who, like myself, had prefered to 
all other men at the last election, and were uncommitted as to 
whom we should support at the next, willing to wait events and 
at the proper time to select the best man. Two or three of the 
Crawfordites present, simultaneously exclaimed that they [torn 
off] concurred with us, and that it was the proper course for all 
to pursue. I have many old friends on both sides of the question, 
both for and ag[ains]t the Adm[inistratio]n, and have a good 
opportunity of hearing much on both sides. When we meet I 
shall be able to amuse you with many anecdotes, both as to men 
and to things. 

I shall leave this in about one week for Phi[ladelphi]a, and 
shall return through this place to Virginia in March, and from 
thence shall return to Illinois in April or May. I cannot say 
exactly when I shall be back, as the business connected with my 
late Mothers estate has not yet been settled; but I have reason 
to believe it will be in April. As soon as this is done I shall set 
out for the West. I am very anxious to hear the result of my 
suit before the Supreme Court, and what the Legislature has 
done, and how things are going on in Illinois. Our last news- 
paper date was January 20. 

I caught a very bad cold on my way here, and have and 
still suffer very much with it. I have not been so sick however 
but that I have been able to dine out every day in large parties 
and gone every evening but one to an evening party. This you 
will say is rather too dissipated for a quiet fire side Western 
man. I own it. But I have many valued friends here, where I 
resided six of the happiest years of my life, have not enjoyed their 
society for seven years, and shall not remain among them but 2 or 
3 weeks. This will excuse me even with you who are a more 
quiet fire side man than myself. Gen[eral] and Mrs. Findlay I 
see often, they are both well. 

My respectful compliments to Mrs. Sloo and your Father 
and accept for yourself the assurances of my great respect and 
sincere regard. 



292 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Coles to Prickett, July 8, 1838 

[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45: 49-50) 

Albemarle County Virginia, July 8 1838 
D' Sir: 

Your letter of June 18, directed to Philadelphia, was for- 
warded from thence and received by me yesterday, I am gratified 
by the notice given you by Mess" Purviance & Seybold, as I am 
& have long been anxious to receive the amount due me. I desire 
you will employ counsel, and take all the proper steps to foreclose 
their mortgage, have the property sold under it, & if it should not 
sell for a sum sufficient to pay the amount of principal & interest 
due me, to call upon and make the parties pay the deficiency 
under their note. In short I want to collect the amount due me 
as soon as I can under their mortgage & note. The amounts 
heretofore paid on this note were paid on account of interest — 
therefore the full sum Loaned remains due, together with 
interest — with the exception of the small amount which has been 
paid on account of interest. 

I do not wish you to remit me the amount which may be 
received, but to deposit it in the Bank at Alton to my credit, & 
notify me of it as soon as you have done so — letting me know the 
exact amount deposited. If you should not be able to make the 
whole sum of principal and interest out of the mortgaged property, 
deposit what you may receive in the Bank, & let me know when 
I may expect to receive the balance. 

I have been here but a few days — shall remain here till Sep- 
tember, when I shall return to Philadelphia. My health has not 
been good for the last month — I hope however the mountain air 
of this place will soon restore me. Tell Robert & Kate their 
friends are all well here. I write you this in haste to send it by 
a gentleman who is going to Charlottesville — The Post-Office of 
this place is Garlands store. 

I congratulate you on your appointment as Receiver & am 
in great haste your very 

Sincere friwid 

Edward Coles 
To Isaac Prickett Esq: 
Edwardsville 



;. APPENDIX 293 

Coles to Prickett, May lo, 1839 

[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45: 51] 

S* Louis May 10 1839 
Dear Sir: 

It seems Mr. Lusk & myself were equally unfortunate in our 
efforts to see each other while he was over here. I do not know 
that.it was important that we should, except that I was anxious 
to see & pay him for bringing my Box & Trunk from your town 
to this. Having left this before I saw him, I have to ask the favor 
of you to pay him for bringing them, & to charge me with it — ■ 
letting it come out of the ^100 left in your hands to pay my Taxes 
&c. 

I am sorry as to what passed between Robert & myself, as to 
the amount paid sent by Jesse On receiving your letter by Mr. 
Lusk, I turned to a little mem" of our a/c made out from your 
letters, & found it was as you stated it, & that all was right. 

I have not seen or heard any thing from Dr. Edwards &z Mr. 
Wilson. I hope the Doctor has not fixed upon the time of holding 
the Court in Edwardsville for the payment of the Note, to prevent 
suing out process against him & Wilson until after the next term 
of the Court — but with the bone [j/V]fide intention of then paying 
me. Time will show. 

I hope to leave this place this afternoon or tomorrow morning 
for Philadelphia 

I am with great respect your friend 

Ed: Coles 



Coles to Prickett, November 5, 1839 
[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45: 55-57I 

Philadelphia Nov: 5. 1839 
Dear Sir: 

Your conduct while here in July last not only surprised me, 
but gave me just cause to find fault with you. Having lived so 
long as neighbors & friends I had a right to expect you would 
have given me opportunities of seeing much of you during your 
sojourn in the City. So far from it you never came near me but 



294 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

once, and that was on Sunday morning during Church hours, 
when you had a right to expect me at Church, where I was. 
Though my child was ill and suffering very much, I called to see 
you at the Hotel almost every day while you remained, without 
having had the good fortune to see you. At length I cant tell 
you my surprise when the Barkeeper told me you had left the 
City. Is it possible, I exclaimed, he has left the City without 
letting me see him? Really I did not think you would have 
treated me in this way. I thought not only your attachment to 
me, but your curiosity to see my Wife & children would have 
induced you to 'have taken much pains to have seen us. Well it is 
said this is the way of the world, and we should learn to bear it 
without too much mortification. But independent of these con- 
siderations, & my desire to have seen & entertained you at my 
House, I was anxious to have seen you about what I am now 
going to write you. You will recollect when I was in Edwards- 
ville in May last, D'' Edwards promised me he would pay up all 
he & M'' Wilson were due me at August Court. I hope he has 
done so. But if he has not, & he still neglects to pay the interest 
due on the note, I desire you will place the note in the hands of 
some good & trusty Lawyer in time to institute suit before the 
next term of the Court in your County. I beg you will bear this 
in mind & not let another term of the Court pass before suing 
him. If however he should pay up all the Interest due you may 
give him further time to pay the principal — provided you think 
further delay will not endanger the debt. 

I wish you also to press the Gillhams for payment, and if 
they should neglect to pay Interest, sue them also. They owe 
me too small a sum for me to desire it to remain at interest — I 
therefore wish you to urge them to pay me as soon as possible. 

You know I have written to Mess" Moore, Morton & C° to 
draw on you not only for my Taxes for 1838 but also for 1839. — 
They will pay all my Taxes for the State, County, road &c, on 
my Military Bounty Lands — of course you will have no Taxes to 
pay for me this year at Vandalia. You know I count on your 
paying my Taxes in Madison County — that is on my farm near 
Edwardsville, containing 474 acres, and Vno Lots in your town. 



APPENDIX 295 

all of which I listed with the assessor for taxation when I was in 
Edwardsville in May last. 

I am happy to tell you, my little Boy, who was so afflicted 
when you were here, & who you cared so little about seeing, has 
gotten entirely well — and to add that we are all now in good 
health. Mention this to Rob*' & Kate when you see them, & 
when you write let me know how they are. Present me kindly 
to your Wife and Nephew and to M"" & M" Lusk— M^ & M" 
Thompson — M"" & M" Atwater & all my old friends near you 
and believe me to be truly and sincerely your friend 

Edward Coles 



Coles to Prickett, June 12, 1840 
[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45: 61-63] 

Philadelphia June 12 1840 
Dear Sir: 

I cannot express my astonishment on the receipt of your 
letter of the 30"' of May to learn the state of the debt from Wilson 
& Edwards to me — that the situation of the latter should have 
been so desperate as to have confessed judgement for thousands, 
& made an assignment of his property to his Brother & others to 
settle his business in March last, & that there should have been 
nothing known of all this at Edwardsville until it was too late to 
do any thing for me — but above all that the mortgage I hold on 
Wilsons property is worth nothing! It seems to me there must 
be some mistake in this, as the money was loaned for me & the 
mortgage taken by Alex: Miller, who being not only one of the 
most business but one of the most vigilant & cautious men I ever 
knew, seems almost impossible that he should have taken a Mort- 
gage from Wilson on property which did not legally belong to 
him. You say I should have gained nothing by your complying 
with my request to institute suit ag* them before the last term of 
the Court. Perhaps not — nor am I prepared to say what I should 
have gained by the progress which would have been made in 
obtaining a judgement, nor what advantage a speedy judgement 
would now be of to me — These are questions with which I wish 
you to make yourself acquainted — & if necessary to obtain legal 



296 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

advice — so a? to pursue that course, under existing circumstances, 
which will be best calculated to secure me all, or as much as possi- 
ble of what is due me from Wilson & Edwards. I beg you will 
give your immediate attention to the subject, & do all in your 
power to recover as much as possible of the amount due me. 
And as a stimulous to your prompt & active exertion, & in the 
candor of an old friend, I will say to you, you have not been as 
attentive to my instructions as to this debt as you ought. Time 
after time, & for years past, I have written you if you thought 
the debt in danger, or if they omitted to pay the interest on their 
debt regularly to sue them & make them pay up the whole amount 
due me. As far back as July 2. 1836 I wrote you — "if they 
(W. & E.) refuse or neglect to pay the Interest then due I desire 
you to place the note & mortgage in the hands of some Lawyer in 
time to have it acted on at the next meeting of the Court in Madi- 
son County." On Oct: 10. 1838 I wrote again & used almost the 
same emphatic language I had used in July 1836. — If Wilson has 
no legal title to the House, he probably owns the furniture and 
other property, which should be secured if possible to me. The 
property too which Edwards has assigned for the payment of his 
debts, will I take it for granted be disposed of for the benefit of 
all those to whom he is in debt. The question is what steps 
should be taken to recover my debt against Wilson & Edwards — 
to get possession of any means the former may have, & my just 
proportion of the property assigned by the latter for the payment of 
his debts. As to relying on what may be effected by "coaxing," 
which you seem inclined to, I think we have no encouragement to 
pursue further that system — which has in my opinion been 
carried too far already — & must be totally unavailing to those to 
whom Edwards* property has been assigned — they will pay only 
legal claims presented in a legal form. The time is now come for 
the payment or settlement of the debt, & I wish you to take legal 
advice as to what steps should best be taken to effect it. If 
Wilson has little or nothing to pay with, & I have to rely on 
Edwards property which has been assigned to the payment of his 
debts, it should not be suffered to be sacrificed under the auction- 
eers hammer — but a portion of it purchased in so as to save my 
debt — I desire you therefore to consider yourself authorized by 



APPENDIX 297 

me thus to purchase in the property, so as to save the debt — if 

money cannot be obtained in payment of it. 

Your letter of March 12. was duly rec*^: — I regret you did 

not give me a full statement of our account — showing as well 

what you had paid out as what you hadrec'': Moore Morton & 

Co write just as you did, that they had paid my Taxes for 1839 

without saying how much they had paid, or whether they had 

drawn on you or not. The ^144.1/2 reported in your letter of 

March 12 as having reC^:, together with the $100 left in your hands 

in May 1839., & the $120 the am*: of Interest due on the Lusk 

note on the 4*^ of May (last month) would together make in 

your hands $364 1/2 — Now if I knew the am*: you & Moore &c 

had paid for Taxes &c I should know the am*: you had left. 

I am the more anxious to know if my Taxes have been increased 

or diminished by the late Tax Law. I wish you would call on 

the Gillhams for payment, & if they refuse or omit to do so — to 

sue them. Agreeably to your request I annex a note to the Mess" 

Lusk, which you will please deliver to them. We are all pretty 

well. I desire to be remembered to your Wife, friend Thompson — 

& to Robert & Kate — I am very truly your friend 

Edward Coles 

To Isaac Prick ett Esq: 

^ Philadelphia, Tune 12. 1840 

Gentlemen: 

Your note to me for |iooo., with Interest for one year, be- 
came due on the 4*'' day of May last. I have reC* : a letter from 
Mr. Prickett, dated the 30*^ of that month, in which nothing is 
said about the payment of the note or the Interest due on it. As 
the money was loaned for but one year, with a very explicit & 
dwelt on declaration that you would be punctual to a day in the 
payment of the Interest, & not having done so, or said any thing 
about continuing the loan, and having rec"^ an intimation of a 
desire to have the note paid by one of the parties to it — it becomes 
my duty to call on you for the payment of the note, & to desire 
you to pay the money into the hands of my friend and Agent 
M'. Isaac Prickett. With my best wishes for your health and 
happiness I am your sincere friend 

Edward Coles 
To A. J. Lusk & Co — ^J. T. Lusk & Isaac Prickett Esqs 



298 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Coles to Prickett, September 4, 1840 

[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45: 65-68] 

FAUQ.UIER Springs Virginia September 4. 1840 
Dear Sir: 

Your letter of Aug*: 21., directed to me to Philadelphia, has 
been forwarded and rec*^: by me here. I hasten to acknowledge 
it,&to say I expect to be back in Philadelphia the first — certainly 
during the first week in October — when I shall be in want of money, 
and must ask the favor of you to send me all the money you may 
have in hand of mine — after paying my Madison County Taxes 
for this year — which I see from the statement of receipts & dis- 
bursements contained in your letter of Aug*: 21 had not been 
then paid. The Bank stock which I own having given me no 
Dividend for the last 12 months, makes it the more necessary for 
me to receive the balance which may remain in your hands. I 
wish you to send it to me as soon as you can after the i** of Oct: — 
so that it shall not reach PhiP till after I get there — if by a Draft 
to be made payable to my order — to be sent by the mail, or by a 
friend as you may have an opportunity or may prefer. My 
friend & Agent Col: John OFallon of St. Louis sends me money 
occasionally by mail which has always come safe, and at much 
less discount than I could obtain a Draft in Philadelphia or St. 
Louis. — Dont forget to pay my Madison County Taxes — on my 
Farm & Edw^'"" Lots for 1840. 

You would confer a favor if when you next wrote you would 
inform me by what right or title Wilson held & occupied the 
House which you say he mortgaged to me in Ap: 1834, but which 
Greathouse Deeded to Edwards in Feb: 1837. I am as sure from 
my knowledge of Alex: Miller, that he had evidence before he 
took the mortgage that the House belonged to Wilson, as I am 
that both Wilson & Edwards always spoke to me of the House 
being the property of Wilson. I should also like to know what 
consideration Edwards paid for the House — what led him to buy 
it — or rather have the Deed made to him — & whether Greathouse 
did not first make a Deed to Wilson — or give him his obligation to 
make a Deed — & whether the Deed to Wilson, or the obligation 
to Wilson, was not destroyed, & the title instead of passing to 
Wilson was passed to Edwards, in order to avoid my mortgage. 



APPENDIX 299 

or secure Edwards in his liability for Wilsons & his debt to me — 
In a word I should like to have this mysterious business explained. 
There may be some things not of record which, if known, would 
vitiate what are of record, & which you seem to think are con- 
clusive because they are of record. 

Are you not mistaken in dates where you say in your last 
letter that I "on the i^ July 1836 requested that suit should be 
commenced, & upon the iG^^ of that month I (you) handed the 
papers to Gillispie [sic] & Cowles who commenced suit on that 
day, & at the next Aug': term found that your (my) mortgage 
was in the situation as stated above, & made a motion to with- 
draw the suit, which was granted, the cost of that suit & Lawyers 
fees I (you) have paid myself out of my own funds." Now it is 
true I wrote & requested you to sue Wilson & Edwards on the 
1^ of July 1836, but you certainly must be mistaken when you 
say, on the 26*^ of that month (July 1836) that suit was com- 
menced, & at the next Aug: term (viz Aug: 1836) the suit was 
withdrawn, in consequence of having discovered that Greathouse had 
made a Deed "on the 1st Feb: 183 f^ to Edwards — when the Deed 
to Edwards was not made till six months after the sitting of the 
Court. I must also say it \M.S. torn] extraordinary that I should 
never have heard of this Deed from Greathouse to Edwards, 
made in Feb: 1837, till June 1840 — though I had not only reC^ 
many letters from you, but had spent some days at Edwardsville 
in May 1839, in company with you, Wilson, Edwards &c &c. 
With respect to any cost you may have been at in suing Wilson 
& Edwards, I must insist on its coming out of my funds in your 
hands, & not out of your funds. I desire therefore you will take 
this cost out of the funds now in your hands of mine. 

The Gillhams must pay the sum they have been so long due 
me — if they refuse, they must be forced. 

I shall leave this in a few days to make a visit to my relations 
in Albemarle County — my Family have been well this summer. 
I am sorry to hear that you & yours have not been — I hope this 
will find you all well — as well as Robert & Kate &c 

With my kind recollections to you & yours — & also to Robert 
& Kate — & hoping you will be able to send me, so that I may be 



300 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

able to receive it during the first week in Oct:, the balance in your 
hands, I am very truly your sincere friend 

Edward Coles 



Coles to Prickett, November 4, 1841 

[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45: 69-70] 

Philadelphia Nov: 4. 1841 
Dear Sir: 

I wrote you on the 21^* of May, since then I have not heard 
from you, except a short postscript to Mr. Martins letter of June 
21 from your Nephew George in which he informed me you were 
then too unwell to write. I answered Mr. Martins letter July 12, 
under cover to you, with the view that you should see it — and 
altho' I urged him to give his immediate attention to the subject, 
it is now near four months and no letter or word have I reC^ : from 
Mr, Martin or yourself. In a letter just rec*^: from Robert Craw- 
ford, he informs me you had told him you had written me, & you 
presumed I had reC^: your letter by that time (October i^^) 
this makes me fear your & Mr. Martin's letters may have mis- 
carried, & I am the more anxious about it, as I think it probable 
you sent me money in your letter, as I desired you to do so in my 
letter of May 21. — & what makes me the more anxious is several 
sums have recently been purloined from the Post-office which 
were sent to this City. 

I hope Mr. Martin has read my letter carefully, and from 
that & other sources made himself accurately acquainted with all 
the facts of the case, & that he has not been as neglectful of my 
interest as he appears to have been. I hope soon to hear the 
matter has been satisfactorily adjusted — And that you will let 
me know all about the property included in my mortgage — the 
size of the House & Lot — what state of preservation they are 
in — & what they are worth & could be obtained for them if now 
sold. 

I presume from what you wrote me that the Mess" Lusk 
paid the amount of Interest due me in May, & that the Gillhams 
have at last paid the amount of their note. After paying my 
Taxes in Madison County, and Moore, Mortons & Co draft for 



APPENDIX 301 

the amount of Taxes paid by them — or retaining about enough 
for these purposes — I wish you would send me the amount you 
may have collected for me, as I am in want of money. Send me 
also the Madison Tax Receipt for this year. 

My health, which has not been good this summer, is now 
good — which is the case with my Family. I hope you have 
regained yours, & that you & yours are well & well to do, & may 
long live in the enjoyment of health & happiness, prays your 
sincere friend 

Ed: Coles 

I wish you to say to my old friend Mr. Barnet, if I ever 
authorized him to cut & use fallen timber on my place near him, 
I recall the permission, as timber is scarce, & all the fallen or 
decayed, as well as the standing & growing, Is wanted for the use 
of the place. I desire you also to mention this to Robert Craw- 
ford, as he has the place & timber in his special care & keeping. 

Say also to Robert that his letter just received does not 
answer mine, nor give the information I applied to him for. The 
gentleman in whose behalf I wrote to him wanted Robert to refer 
to the particular texts in the Bible which Robert once referred 
me to. 

Coles to Prickett, September 2, 1842 

[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45: 73-7 5I 

ScHOOLEYs Mountain New Jersey September 2, 1842 
My Dear Sir: 

My health being such as to require the use of Saratoga water, 
I left my Family here and went on to the Springs, from whence 
I returned yesterday, and found your letter of the 11*^ of August, 
which you directed to me to Philadelphia, & was from thence 
forwarded to this place. I hasten to express my regret that you 
should so long have neglected to attend to the request contained 
in my letter of Dec: ,30, In which I enclosed you a letter to the 
Mess" Lusk, calling on them to pay me, & stating to you. If they 
would not pay me, & it should become necessary to sue them, & 
to have their Note, I would send It to you on your writing me that 
it was necessary to have it in Edwardsville. — I regret this delay 



302 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the more as their Note was placed for safe keeping, with other 
valuable papers of mine, in the vault of a Bank in Phil*: before 
I left home, & cannot be obtained until I return, which I do not 
expect to do until about the first of October. In your last letter 
you say, "if I will forward the note immediately judgment may 
be obtained at the Sep: term of the Court" — but as I was not in 
PhiP, & the letter had to be forwarded, & was not even then 
reC*: in consequence of my being absent from this place, I pre- 
sume it w*^ now be too late to forward the Note for it to be reC^: 
in time for the Court which is to sit in this month. You had 
better commence the suit as soon as possible — if they still refuse 
to pay, or to give what may be considered iy you satisfactory 
assurance of their intention & ability to pay their note soon— and 
I will send their Note as soon as I return to Philadelphia. 

I regret you said nothing about my letter of Dec: 30 last, as 
it related to several matters about which I have been hng anxious 
to receive an answer. I trust it was duly received, & that you 
attended to the mistake made in the payment of the Taxes of 
last year — that you delivered the letter I enclosed you to the Mess" 
Lusk — that you rec'^: the Bond which I enclosed you (the Bond 
sent me by Mr. Martin) & made the explanations I desired you to 
make to Mr. Martin, & had the mistakes corrected — that you 
have had the Deeds of Wilson &c &c Recorded &c &c &c. When 
you write me again I wish you [to] read over my letter of Dec: 
30, & give me information upon all the points alluded to. You 
will not I hope forget to pay my Taxes on my Farm of 474 acres 
in Madison County & my two Lots in Edwardsville for the year 
1842. — Nor lose sight of the fact that Wilson is bound to pay me 
near $^4 on the 24*'' of this months & if he neglects to do it, he 
forfeits his House & Lot — on that day therefore I must ask the 
favor of you to call upon him for the Interest money of near ^84, 
and on his omission to pay it, to dispossess him of the House, and 
to put a good Tenant in it at the best rent you can get for me. 
I hope between Wilson and Lusks — & Gilhams you will be able 
to collect money enough to pay my Taxes &c. 

I wish you to retain in your possession, until you hear further 
from me, the Deeds from Edwards and Wilson for the House & 



APPENDIX 303 

Lot in Edwardsville. I hope you have had them Recorded — if 
not do so promptly 

Give my compliments to your Wife & other friends, not for- 
getting my old friend Lusk, & tell him from me to pay me & not 
force me to sue an old friend. 

Remember me also to Robert & Kate & believe me to be very 
truly & sincerely your friend & well wisher 

Edward Coles 
[Endorsed] Answered at Length Nov 16*'' 1842 

Coles to Gillespie, November 15, 1842 

[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 14: 1 19-120] 

Philadelphia Nov: 15. 1842 
Dear Sir: 

Enclosed I send you a Note of A. J. Lusk — J. T. Lusk & 
Isaac Prickett for one thousand dollars, made payable May 4. 
1840, and on which Interest has been paid to May 4. 1841. M' 
Prickett one of the parties to the Note, but who became so as a 
friend & surety of the Mess" Lusk, has written to me to say he 
is no longer willing to continue liable for this debt, & is desirous 
that I should coerce payment. I request you will immediately 
call on M"" Prickett, & let him know you have received this Note 
from me, and apply for his directions as to what you are to do. 
For myself I had rather not sue my two old friends J. T. Lusk & 
Isaac Prickett — but if M'" Prickett is anxious for the debt to be 
paid, and the Mess" Lusk refuse to pay it, or make any arrange- 
ment satisfactory to Prickett — you will be pleased to bring suit 
when M'' Prickett directs it to be done. As I shall be anxious to 
hear of the receipt of the enclosed Note, I must ask the favor of 
you to write me as soon as you have rec'^: it, and seen M^ Prickett 
& learnt what will probably have to be done. When the money 
is paid or collected, I wish it to be placed in M'. Isaac Pricketts 
hands for safe keeping — he acting as my Agent & friend in that 
part of the Country. 

I should sooner have written to you but for my having been in 
daily expectation of hearing from M"". Prickett in reply to my 
letter of Sep: 2. — I wish you would tell M'. Prickett I am extremely 



304 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

anxious to hear from him on the different subjects treated of in 
my letters o(Dec: 30 & Sep: 2 — and that he has been able to collect 
money enough to pay my Taxes in Madison County, & the small 
call which will be made this year on him by Mess" Moore, Mor- 
ton & C° (they having in hand money of mine ^26) to pay my 
Taxes in the upper Counties. 

Hoping soon to hear from you I remain 

very truly and sincerely yours 

Edward Coles 
Joseph Gillespie Esq: 
Edwardsville 
I shall expect your charges, for any professional services 
you may render me, to be reasonable & moderate — such as you 
make your neighbors & friends pay — for such I long was & feel 
that I am yet 

[Endorsed] The above is in the handwriting of the second Gov- 
ernor of Ills. 

J, Gillespie 

Coles to Prickett, December 20, 1842 
[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45: 77-80] 

Philadelphia Dec: 20. 1842 
Dear Sir: 

Your letter of Nov: 16. has been rec^:, and I must freely 
confess I am at a great loss to know what answer to make to it, 
or how to express my surprise that you & my old friend Lusk 
should request me to take land in payment of your debt to 
me. From my long acquaintance & great regard for you both, 
I should like to do any thing I could to oblige you, but in this 
case you ask what I cannot do. When I made the loan I pre- 
ferred individual security to the security of a Mortgage, because 
I feared the Mortgaged property might be thrown on my hands, 
& I should be compelled to take it — there being nothing else for 
me to have. But when I made the loan, with you & my old friend 
Lusk as jointly & severally bound, I felt confident the money was 
safe,^& that the contract would be faithfully complyed with — and 
this I must yet believe, notwithstanding the new views taken in 



APPENDIX 305 

your last letter. For your preceding letter of Aug: ii. was 
written for the sole & express purpose of reminding me that you 
were the security, and urging me as such to send on the note & 
commence suit immediately, that judgement might be obtained 
at the last Sep: term of the Court. Every expression of your 
letter of Aug: ii. was founded on the idea that the parties would 
have to pay the amount of the Note in money — ^judge then of my 
surprise at your proposition, & your remark in your last letter, 
that if you should be compelled to pay the Note you would * 'have 
to turn out Lands." I cannot account for this change in your 
views & conduct; and I regret you should have me risk the Note 
by sending it by mail, & put me to the expense of employing a 
Lawyer, which was done only in compliance with your wishes, & 
to oblige you, & to promote your interest. I had no wish or 
intention to sue you & the Mess" Lusk, I only yielded to your 
urgent solicitations, under the impression that I was by so doing 
befriending you. I waited a long time under the hope & expecta- 
tion of hearing from you, in reply to my letter of Sep: 2^^, but not 
having done so, & fearing further delay might operate injuriously 
to you, I wrote & enclosed the Note to M^ Gillespie, & stated to 
him that I had rather no suit should be for the present instituted; 
but directed him to see & confer with you, & if you wished suit 
to be instituted to so do, & to conform to your directions. I 
must now direct that no suit or legal proceedings be commenced, 
till I have further time to confer with my Counsel on the pro- 
priety of bringing suit (if it must be brought at all) in the Fed' : 
Court, or such Court as I shall have the best chance of obtaining 
justice & my Constitutional rights. In the mean time, if the 
Mess" Lusk will not pay enough of the Interest due last May, to 
pay my Taxes, I must insist on you, as one of the parties to their 
Note, doing so, & I cant but think you will believe it but reason- 
able & proper that you should do so. The am*: of Moore Mortons 
& C° draft for Taxes will not be as great this year as usual, as they 
have a balance of $26 of my money lying in their hands. As to 
M^ Martins charge of $30 for taking Edwards Deed to me &c, 
I think it enormous, & as far as I understand the service rendered 
to be unjust, and such as no Lawyer here would consider proper. 
If it is a just & reasonable charge money must be very abundant 



306 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

at Alton, & very different from what you represented it to be in 
Edwardsville. If he will not consent to make his charge more 
reasonable, it will not be unreasonable to make him wait till I go 
to Illinois, which I intend to do early in April — at which time, if 
not before, I hope not only to settle with him, & you, & the Lusks 
&c; and in the mean time I would suggest to you & them, whether 
it would not be best, if times are so very hard, money so scarce, 
& property so low, that your & their debt[M. S. torn] me [shou]ld 
continue till times should become good when you & they can pay 
it without difficulty & without a sacrifice. If you & they will 
pay me the Interest punctually, you may have your own time to 
pay me the principal — and it seems to me to be greatly the best 
for you & them to continue the debt on these terms, rather than 
sacrifice property in such times as these to pay the debt — to say 
nothing of the great expense which will attend a suit, carried as 
it probably would be to the Supreme Court of the U. S. — for if I 
am driven to the Law, I will go to the end of the law, & get all 
the Law & the Constitution will give me. 

In speaking of M"". Martin, I ought to have added that his 
fee should have been the less in consequence of his neglect to do 
what he ought to have done — to answer my letter of Dec: 30 
(which you say was handed to him) & informed [sic] me if the 
mistakes I pointed out in the Bond had been corrected — if the 
Bond had been reC^: & delivered — the Deeds of the assignees of 
Edwards, & from Edwards & Wife to me had been rec^ : & recorded 
&c &c — all this, & various other matters connected with that 
letter, I have been kept in ignorance for one whole year, though 
I have written twice since then enquiring about them. — M"". 
Wilson forfeited his House as much by failing to pay the Interest 
last Sep:, as he will forfeit it by not paying the principal next 
Sep: — & if I am to get nothing more next Sep: than the House, 
then of course I lose the Rent of the house for one year by not 
enforcing the contract this year. But you say he could not be 
gotten out of the house by the forms of law for a year. This 
seems a long time to get a man out of a house which did not 
belong to him. You say he promises to give up the House next 
Sep: — Will he keep his promise.^ You know him best & can best 
judge. If he is to remain, have his removal at the appointed 



APPENDIX 307 

time (Sep: next) placed beyond a doubt. It will then be too bad 
to have in Sep: next to go to law to get him out, & lose Rent for 
two years. — You ask for a list of my Taxable property in Madison 
County on which you are to pay Taxes — S. W. 4. — S. E.5. — 
East U N. E. 6.— & the N. 3^ N. W. 9. in T. 4 N. of R. 7. West- 
containing in all 474 acres (all being complete \i ox yi quarters, 
except E >^ N. E. 6., which contains but 74 acres). I also own 
two small Lots in Edwardsville N — 193 & 195 on Main St. unim- 
proved. These two Lots, & the N. >< N. W, of Sec: 9., were not 
included in the Tax Receipt of 1841 — about which I wrote you 
Dec: 30. '41, & which you say in your letter Nov: 16 you have 
since paid. Will the Estate of Gillham never pay its debts? 
Thank Mess" Gillespie & Niles for their letter of Dec: 3. — give 
them my directions not to sue until they hear further from me^ 
& take good care of the Note till they hear from me, or see me 
early in April. You say Edwards Deed to me has been placed 
on Record — Have you not had Recorded the Deed of the assignees 
of o\M.S. /or«]ards to me? Take care of these Deeds & the 
\M. S. torn] receipts till you see me in the Spring. Your friend 

Edward Coles 

Coles to Prickett, May 11, 1843 

[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45: 81] 

_ „ St. Louis May 11. 1841 

D' Sir— ^ ^^ 

I write to say I am here — shall leave it [sic] this afternoon 
for the upper Country — & expect to be in Edwardsville about the 
middle or last of next week — when I hope I shall have the good 
fortune to see you, & the Lusks — Wilson — Gillaspie, [sic] & all 
with whom I have business — as well as my old friends & acquain- 
tances generally. I hope you will have collected the balance of 
Gillhams debt. Tell Robert of my coming, & my hope that all 
rent for my place near him will be paid me when I am in Edwards- 
ville. — Tell M''. Gillaspie also of my intention to be with you — so 
that if he should have to leave home before my arrival he will 
leave the Note sent him of the Lusks &c to me, so that I may 

I am very respectfully 

Edward Coles 



308 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Since I arrived here I have sent the Mess" Moore, Morton 
& C° the necessary funds with which to pay my Taxes — which 
they informed me you had refused to send them. 

Coles to Prickett, June 24, 1843 

[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 45; 83-86] 

Philadelphia June 24. 1843 
Dear Sir: 

The sum, the amount of which you could not recollect, which 
you informed me had been paid to the Judge of Probate of the 
Gillhams debt, & which I was unable to ascertain, in consequence 
of the absence of the Judge of Probate when I was in Edwards- 
ville, I hope you have in pursuance of my request collected of him, 
& that that sum together with what Robert promised to collect 
of Rent money, & pay to you the week after I left you, repaid you 
the small sum you were in advance to me, & put you in funds to 
pay my County Taxes for 1842., which I hope you will have paid 
before the receipt of this letter. 

You will recollect that I told you M" Mason had promised 
to look among her papers for the Deed from Jordan Uzzell to 
James Mason for the Lot on which is situated the two brick 
houses owned by you & me in Edwardsville, and to enclose the 
Deed to you, if she found it, if not to let you know she had not 
been able to find it. If she should not be able to find the Deed, 
which is an essential link in our title, I desired that you would at 
our joint expense obtain a quit claim Deed from Jordan Uzzell 
to you & me, & this I expressed a wish should be done as soon as 
possible, as Uzzell might die, & as he was an old man the danger 
was the greater of his death. Uzzells Deed to Jas: Mason, or if 
that should not be found, Uzzells quit claim Deed to us, you will 
of course have recorded. 

You will recollect the Deed from B. F. Edwards & Wife & 
his assignees to me for the brick house, which you had recorded, 
& which you gave me while in Edwardsville, was found by me to 
be erroneously drawn, as to the description of the boundaries of 
the Lot, by Lawyer Martin, & that I returned it to him while in 
Edwardsville to have it corrected, or another Deed drawn & 



APPENDIX 309 

executed, and desired him to [send] you that Deed & the corrected 
one, & also James Masons Deed to John S. Greathouse — & Great- 
houses Deed to B. F. Edwards — & Edwards Deed to me — and 
you will recollect I asked the favor of you to have recorded the 
corrected Deed to me from Edwards & JVife & his assignees. I have 
now to repeat these various requests, & to ask your prompt & 
faithful attention to them, & as soon as you have done so to write 
me fully on the different subjects — and by the first safe oppor- 
tunity (& if none should offer sooner you could send them by one 
of your Members of Congress in Nov: next) send me i.Uzzells 
Deed to Mason, or to us as it may be — 2. Masons Deed to Great- 
house — j.Greathouses Deed to Edwards — 4. Edwards & Wife & his 
assignees Deeds to me — the erroneous as well as the corrected one — 
& 5. my Receipt for Madison County Taxes for the year 1842. 

On your receiving the corrected Deed from M^ Martin, & 
before you have it recorded, I wish you would examine it & see 
that it is correctly drawn. The Lot is described in the same words^ 
both in Masons Deed to Greathouse and in Greathouses Deed to 
Edwards, as you will see in the Recorders office, in Book N° 14. 
in pages 476 & 478. — The words are — "Beginning at a point on 
the line of the public square opposite to the center of the aforesaid 
dividing wall — thence N. 40 E. on a line with the centre of said 
wall 208. feet — thence S. 50 E. 67. feet to the cross street — thence 
N. 40 E. along the line of said cross street 100 feet — thence N. 
50° W. 134 feet — thence S. 40° W. 308 feet — thence S. 50° E. to 
the beginning." M^ Martins blunders in drawing the Deed, & 
want of attention to t[he] matter — particularly after my pointing 
out a similar error in the Bond he drew for me in my letter of Dec: 
30. 1 841 — are inexcusable — & in justice he should rather pay me 
damages then I should pay him for such kind of professional 
services. 

As you expressed a wish not to attend to the renting &c &c 
of the Brick House for me, I shall write by this days mail to my 
old friend M^ Benaiah Robinson to ask & empower him to act 
as my friend & Agent in the renting and superintending that 
House for me; and as it will save trouble in every way to have all 
my business in & about Edwardsville in one persons care, I shall 
ask him also to pay all my Taxes in the county — to receive from 



310 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Robert the rent of my Farm, & from you, or the Judge of Probate, 
the balance due me by the Gillhams, after paying yourself the 
small balance I am due you, & the amount of my Taxes for last 
year (1842) which I hope you will have paid before you receive 
this letter. I desire you also to pay M"". Martin what is right — 
he ought not to receive, nor expect to receive, a full or usual fee 
for services so unusually badly done. I called on him in Alton to 
settle this matter of the fee with him, & to complain of his negli- 
gent manner of attending to my business intrusted to him by 
you — he was not in his office, & when I afterwards saw him, he 
professed to be so much engaged at the moment as not to have 
time, but would see me again — but he took care not to see me. 
And when I sent the Deed to him for correction, he wrote you, 
as you told me that he had not time to attend to it then — Men 
who undertake business should have time to attend to it. Hop- 
ing to hear from you soon, & thankful for your kindness in attend- 
ing to my business for me, & with my best wishes for you, your 
Family, & Nephew, I am truly & sincerely your friend 

Edward Coles 



Editorial by Warren,^ December 21, 1854 

[Free West, December 21, 1854] 

Our columns this week contain an extract from the second 
chapter of Governor Ford's History of Illinois. As we lived con- 

^Warren, Hooper, born at Walpole, New Hampshire, 1790; learned printer's 
trade on Rutland (Vermont) Herald; 1814, went to Delaware; 1817, removed to 
Kentucky, and worked for a time on a Frankfort newspaper; 1818, came to St. 
Louis and worked in the office of the old Missouri Gazette (predecessor of the 
Republican), and also acted as agent for a lumber company at Cairo, Illinois; 
March, 18 19, established at Edwardsville the Spectator, the third newspaper in 
Illinois; 1825, left the Edwardsville paper and was associated with the National 
Crisis, an anti-slavery paper at Cincinnati, but soon returned to Illinois and 
established the Sangamo Spectator, the first newspaper published at Springfield; 
1829-1832, was connected with the Advertiser and Upper Mississippi Herald, at 
Galena; 1832, abandoned this field, and removed to Hennepin, where within the 
next five years he was clerk of the circuit and county commissioners' courts, and 
ex-officio recorder of deeds; 1836, began publication of the third newspaper in 
Chicago, the Commercial Advertiser; 1837, settled on a farm near Henry; was later 
connected with the publication of the Genius of Liberty, at Lowell, LaSalle County, 
and the Western Citizen, which became the Free West, of Chicago; 1856, again 
retired to the farm; died August 22, 1864. Bateman and Selby, Historical Ency- 
clopedia oj Illinois, i: 577-578; Andreas, History 0/ Cliicago, i: 383. 



APPENDIX 311 

temporaneously with the scenes described, and our name is 
honorably mentioned by the author in connection with the events 
narrated, we hope to be excused for venturing a tew remarks upon 
the subject. 

The people of Illinois are under obligations to the late Gover- 
nor Ford, for being the first to make a record of the political history 
of the State, at this early period. The historians of England do 
not attempt to bring their narratives down to less than from fifty 
to one hundred and fifty years of the time of writing. This policy 
shields the authors from contemporaneous criticism and detection 
of error, and probably from the resentment and persecution of the 
government or individuals. It is to be hope[d] that this custom 
will never become the prevailing practice in our country; for 
though it will allay prejudice, it may prevent the truth from being 
vindicated. Governor Ford's example will be useful in this 
respect. It is understood that the former Governor, John Rey- 
nolds, and the Rev. John M. Peck, both of St. Clair county, are 
each writing a history of Illinois. They will both, it is supposed, 
go back to the first discovery of the country by French travelers. 
That of Mr. Peck is expected to contain, not only the civil and 
political, but the ecclesiastical and literary history of the State. 
He is competent to the performance of such a work; and as he has 
lately retired from an active and arduous ministerial life, it is 
trusted, that, in his old age, he will divest himself of all prejudice, 
and give the public a history which shall be satisfactory to all 
parties, and as near as may be, to individuals. 

The desire to vindicate his administration, and his public life 
from misrepresentation, was doubtless the principal motive of 
Governor Ford for writing his book. In relation to this part of 
the work, his statements may be explicitly relied upon, because 
they refer to matters which came within his personal observation. 
Such is the case, also, in his narratives of the Black Hawk and 
Mormon wars. In relation to the former, he has vindicated the 
character, and established the claim of the Illinois Volunteers, 
under the command of the late General Henry, to the honors of 
that war, against the unfounded pretensions assumed in behalf of 
a Colonel of Militia, who commanded a battalion in a neighboring 
Territory. And not less accuracy may be imputed to his inter- 



312 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

esting account of the Mormon difficulties, which were so embar- 
rassing to his administration. 

But in the chapter which gives a very brief, and apparently- 
hurried statement of the great contest in 1822-3-4, in regard to 
the calling of a Convention to amend the Constitution, so as to 
authorize the introduction of slavery into the State, there are some 
mistakes, which, though not of much public importance, yet, if 
the statements were worth the making, they will bear correcting. 
Mr. Ford, at the time of these transactions, was a law student at 
Belleville; and it cannot be expected that his knowledge of events 
should be so thorough, or his relation of them so accurate, as in 
those of after life, in which he took an active and responsible part. 

The historian first introduces to our notice, the candidates for 
the office of the second Governor of Illinois, the successful one of 
which was Mr. Edward Coles, who was a Virginian; had emanci- 
pated his slaves in Virginia, brought them to Illinois, and settled 
them on farms, etc. Governor Ford cannot be held responsible 
for this statement. It had often before been made in newspapers, 
and by lecturers, letter-writers, etc. The facts are these: Mr. 
Coles brought his slaves, consisting of a woman with five children, 
four girls and a boy, from Virginia to Illinois, in the spring of 18 19. 
Mr. C. was the owner of an improvement a few miles from Ed- 
wardsville, called "Coles* Farm". He hired men to work this 
farm, and put the mother in the cabin to cook for them. The 
girls went out to service, two of whom, alternately, acted in that 
capacity in our family. The boy Mr. C. kept as his body servant, 
until he became of a suitable age to be bound to a barber in St. 
Louis. In a year or two he relinquished his agricultural operation, 
and sold off his farming tools and implements. That Governor 
Coles cared for the welfare of his colored people, we know; but as 
to his settling them on farms, the assertion is gratuitous, and we 
are unwilling to believe that the Governor ever gave countenance 
to such a report. 

It is stated that he emancipated his slaves in Virginia. The 
precise place is where he crossed the line with his slaves into a free 
State, probably Ohio; for that act was of itself emancipation. 
Mr. Coles, being no lawyer, was probably not aware of that fact; 
and being ambitious of popularity, and having high aspirations to 



APPENDIX 313 

preferment, on the 4th of July, 18 19, at Edwardsville, he executed 
deeds of emancipation for each person, in the presence of two 
Methodist ministers as subscribing witnesses. 

We might occupy columns on the points adverted to in this 
book, in relation to Governor Coles at that period; but want of 
time prevents us from doing so. We will further state, however, 
that the recommendation of Governor Coles in his first message 
to the Legislature, to emancipate the "French slaves", was an 
exceedingly injudicious and indiscreet proposition, at that time, 
extremely mortifying and embarrassing to his anti-slavery friends. 
The great struggle to make Illinois a slave State was begun; and 
the only means the friends of freedom had to oppose and prevent 
that consummation, was to oppose and prevent the calling of a 
Convention. The very first thing to be done under the Gover- 
nor's recommendation was to authorize the call of a Convention 
to alter the Constitution, which was all the slave party wanted, 
and which they were determined to do at all hazards before the 
close of the session. The committee to whom that part of 
the Governor's message was referred, made a report, (written by the 
Hon. Theophilus W. Smith, though not a member of the commit- 
tee,) in which they expatiated largely on "the benevolent views of 
the Executive;" and regretted that Legislative relief could not be 
extended to the objects of the Governor's commisseration [sic] 
without an amendment of the Constitution; and for that purpose 
they reported a resolution for the call of a Convention. Thus was 
the subject precipitated. 

In 1 85 1, after the decease of Governor Ford, there was pub- 
lished at several times, in the Peoria Republican, what purported 
to be "Leaves from Governor Ford's History of Illinois," one of 
which is the extract on the first page of this paper from the book. 
On comparing the book with the "Leaves" we find that several 
important and material alterations have been made in the book, 
for the worse instead of better. For instance, in the "Leaves," 
is a list of what purports to be the names of the principal men 
in the State who took part in the contest, in which the name 
of Governor Edwards, one of our Senators in Congress, is not 
mentioned at all. In the book, as it will be seen, his name appears 
in the list of partisans for a Convention. Nothing can be more 



314 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

untrue; for although Governor Edwards then held slaves in 
Kentucky and Missouri, he opposed the making of Illinois a slave 
State, both at the formation of the old Constitution, and at this 
subsequent attempt to amend it for that purpose. In this case 
we testify to what we personally know. He wrote, anonymously, 
the most powerful arguments against the expediency of the meas- 
ure, in the newspaper which we published; and he often argued 
the points in our presence, with the Convention partisans. 

In the "Leaves" was a simple statement that on the defeat 
of the anti-convention party in the Legislature, they rallied to 
oppose the measure before the people; and for that purpose, 
established newspapers, etc. This is merely a misrepresentation — 
no new newspapers were established on the anti-convention side. 
But it is truth itself, in comparison with the paragraph in the book, 
which appears to have been manufactured out of it. — We will first 
bring this paragraph over to look at, and then analyze it: 

"But they were mistaken: the anti-convention party took 
new courage, and rallied to a man. They established newspapers 
to oppose the Convention; one at Shawneetown, edited by Henry 
Eddy; one at Edwardsville, edited by Hooper Warren, with Gov. 
Coles, Thomas Lippincott, George Churchill, and Judge Lockwood, 
for its principal contributors; and finally, one at Vandalia, edited 
by David Blackwell, the Secretary of State." 

I. One at Shawneetown, edited by Henry Eddy. 

The "Illinois Emigrant" was established at Shawneetown, 
in 1817, or the next year, by Henry Eddy and Singleton H. Kim- 
mel. No other paper was established there during the pendency 
of the Convention question, though, we think, the name was 
changed. — It was decidedly pro-slavery in its character, and of 
course supported that party. During the latter part of the pen- 
dency of the question, Morris Birkbeck, whose residence was in 
that section of the State, made an arrangement with the editors of 
that paper, to insert in it a series of, "Letters to the People" to 
be written by him, under the signature of "Jonathan Freeman." 
Mr. Kimmel retired from the establishment, and his place was 
supplied by James Hall, afterwards a Judge of the Circuit Court, 
State Treasurer, etc. Mr. Birkbeck's appeal to the people 
became alarming to the slavery propagandists, and they took 



APPENDIX 315 

measures to counteract him. Mr. Hall attacked him in the paper, 
furiously and in the most abusive style. 

2. One at Edwardsville, edited by Hooper IVarren, with Gov. 
Coles, etc., etc., etc., as contributors. 

The Edwardsville Spectator was established by H. Warren in 
1 8 19, three years before these extraordinary events took place in 
the Legislature, which Governor Ford is made to say, as on the 
spur of the occasion, was established to oppose the Convention. 
It was from the start thoroughly and uncompromisingly anti- 
slavery, and stood the brunt alone in this then Far West, during 
the agitation of the Missouri question. 

If the book has reached Philadelphia, Governor Coles must 
have laughed, or sworn, on reading the above paragraph, to see 
himself placed in the position of an appointed contributor to 
the Edwardsville Spect[at]or, considering his personal relation 
to the paper and its editor. 

Judge Lockwood wrote but one article on the question, and 
that was a strong and convincing argument against the policy 
of making this a slave State. Messrs. Lippincott and Churchill, 
and others, wrote articles occasionally for the paper, but it had no 
regular contributor. 

3. And finally, one at Vandalia, edited by David Blackwell, the 
Secretary of State. 

The "Illinois Intelligencer" was the first newspaper in Illinois, 
located at Kaskaskia, the seat of the Territorial government. On 
our first acquaintance with it, in 18 18, it was conducted by Robert 
Blackwell, the Territorial Auditor. Elijah C. Berry was soon 
afterwards taken into the concern. As the public printing was its 
mairf support, the establishment followed the seat of government 
to Vandalia, when a change of proprietors or conductors took place, 
and the management of the paper was assumed by William H. 
Brown and William Berry. This was an incongruous political 
connection, Mr. Brown being an anti-convention man, and his 
partner, as a member of the Legislature, had voted for all the 
obnoxious measures at the session referred to. The paper, on the 
question, was therefore neutralized. 

In the Month of June, 1824, six weeks before the election 
which terminated the contest, David Blackwell, a lawyer of 



316 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Belleville, and a brother of the former proprietor, by some means, 
of which we are not advised, got possession and control of the 
Intelligencer at Vandalia, until the election. He turned it, for 
that brief period, with great effect, upon the Convention party. 
Mr. Brown, we believe, had no connection with the paper after 
that time. 

So much for the story about the establishment of papers to 
oppose the Convention. — We can tell it better: 

Upon the passage of the resolution for the call of a Convention, 
in the extraordinary manner which has been related, the members 
in the minority, both of the Senate and House of Representatives, 
met together, and issued an Address to the People, warning them 
of the imminent danger of the introduction of Slavery into the 
State, and entreating them to rally themselves against it. 

They also concerted measures to increase the circulation of the 
Edwardsville Spectator. For that purpose, the sum of one 
thousand dollars was subscribed at once, to be paid over to the 
Editor of the Spectator, provided he would agree to supply them 
with it at half the subscription price; and they appointed a com- 
mittee to call upon him with the proposition. It was accepted, 
though in the end it proved a loss, owing to the great depreciation 
of the currency. 

We intend next week to republish a letter from the Hon. George 
Churchill, of Madison County, on this subject, to the Editor of 
the Bureau Advocate, and published in that paper of May 14, 1851, 
when we may have some further remarks to make. 

H. W. 

Churchill^ to Editor of Bureau Advocate, May 2, 185 1 

[Free West, December 28, 1854] 

To THE Editor of the Bureau Advocate. 

Under the head of "Stray Leaves from Ford's History of 
Illinois" I read in the N. W. Gazetteer of Feb. 27, (credited to the 

'Churchill, George, born at Hubbard town, Rutland County, Vermont, October 
11,1789; received good education; learned printer's trade; 1806, became appren- 
tice in office of the Albany (New York) Sentinel, and after serving his time, worked 
as journeyman printer; purchased half interest in small printing office; sold out 
at end of two years, spent five months in New York, then started west; 1817, came 
to Illinois; purchased land near Edwardsville, Madison County; 18 19, in order to 
raise money for improvement of farm, worked in office of the Missouri Gazette; 



APPENDIX 317 

Peoria Republican,) an account of "the first State Bank" of 
Illinois. It is in the main correct, but contains some errors which 
would doubtless have been rectified had Gov. Ford lived to prepare 
his work for the press. I will name a few. 

1. It is said that the notes of the Bank were payable in two 
years. They were, in fact, to be redeemed in ten years. See the 
23d section of the charter. 

2. "In the summer of 1824, the Bank went into operation." 
It went into operation in 1821. 

[These two errors are not in the book as printed. They 
probably originated with the compositor of the "Leaves".] 

3. "Every man who could get an indorser, borrowed his 
hundred dollars." This remark is singularly hyperbolical. 

4. "More than half of those who borrowed considered what 
he got as so much gain." It is scarcely possible that Gov. Ford, 
who was a good English scholar, could have suffered this sentence 
to slip if he had read it a second time. 

[This is also corrected in the book.] 

The historian ought to have stated that the paper of the Bank 
was receivable in payment of all taxes and debts due the State. 
This fact gave it nearly all the value and currency which it pos- 
sessed, and as it was at a great discount, all the taxes were paid in 
this paper. Hence the necessity for the policy afterwards adopted, 
of burning the paper as fast as it came to the hands of the State, 
and of borrowing money to defray the expenses of government 
until good money could come into the treasury. This policy has 
been frequently condemned by men who knew nothing about the 
state of facts which then existed. — The establishment of the State 
Bank of 1 821, was the first great error of our Legislature. 

In the Bureau Advocate, of April 2, 1 observe another "Leaf" 
from Gov. Ford's History of Illinois, in which he treats of "the 
great contest on the Slavery Question" in 1822, '23, and '24. 

wrote articles over signature of "A Farmer of St. Charles County," advocating the 
admission of Missouri as a free state; the same year aided Hooper Warren in 
establishing the Spectator, and was subsequently frequent contributor to its col- 
umns; 1822, elected to General Assembly; served till 1832; 1 838-1 842, member of 
Senate; 1844, member of House; 1826, aided in revision of statutes of state; 
collector of historical records; died 1872. Bateman and Selby, Historical Ency- 
clopedia 0/ Illinois, i: 105 ,397, 577; Reynolds, My Own Times, 242, 275 Blue 
Book oj Illinois, 1913-1914, pp. 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 352, 357. 



318 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

A reader unacquainted with the facts, might infer from Gov. 
Ford's statement, that the gubernatorial election of 1822 turned 
entirely upon the Slavery Question, and that the subsequent 
election of United States Senator turned upon the same question. 

The vote for Governor in 1822 was as follows:'' 
Edward Coles, . . . 2810 Joseph Phillips, . . . 2766 

James B. Moore, . . 522 Thomas C. Browne - 2534 

333^ 5300 

333^ 



1968 

Plurality for Coles 44. Majority of Phillips and Browne, 
(said to be for slavery,) over Coles and Moore, (opposed to 
slavery,) 1988 [sic]. Whole number of votes, 8632. 

Yet there cannot be a doubt that a very considerable majority 
of the voters of Illinois were then opposed to slavery. 

In the early years of our existence as a State, political partie[s] 
were very much mixed up. The parties which originated under 
the Territorial government — the one in favor of, the other opposed 
to, the Territorial administration — still existed, with all their 
attachments, antipathies, rivalries, and resentments. These 
entered more or less into all other elections, except when the 
slavery question was known to be at stake. 

Mr. Coles was a new comer to the State, while the other can- 
didates were old residents, and had long filled important official 
stations. Under these disadvantages, the election of Mr. Coles 
was doubtless occasioned by his well known opposition to slavery, 
although it was equally true that many opponents of slavery 
voted for the other candidates. 

Gov. Ford says — "The leaders of the slave party were anxious 
to re-elect Jesse B. Thomas to the United States Senate." Some 
of them — perhaps most of them — were, but others belonging to the 
same party, were equally anxious to defeat him. Some of the 
opponents of slavery supported him, while others opposed him. 
He received 29 votes, John Reynolds 16, Leonard White 6. All 
these candidates belonged to the slavery party. Two members 

* See ante, 5 1 . 



APPENDIX 319 

of the Legislature, (Senator Stillman and myself,) voted for Mr. 
Lockwood, who was not a candidate. We could not consent to 
aid in the election of a friend of slavery. Yet there were at least 
twenty members, who were opposed to slavery, eighteen of whom 
voted for some friend of slavery for U. S. Senator. The old 
territorial parties ruled in this election. 

Gov. Ford says — "When the Legislature assembled it was 
found that the Senate contained the requisite two-thirds majority; 
but in the House, by deciding a contested election in favor of one 
of the candidates, the slave party would have a majority of one 
more than two-thirds; and by deciding in favor of the other, they 
would lack one of having that majority." 

This is not exactly correct. Senator Grammar took his seat 
on the 7th February, 1823; until which time the Senate did not 
contain two-thirds in favor of the Convention. In the House, 
after turning out Mr. Hansen and admitting Mr. Shaw, they had 
two-thirds, and no more. 

The "disorderly procession" described by Governor Ford, 
took place the night before the passage of the Convention Resolu- 
tion — not afterwards, as he states. A sufficient number of members 
had bound themselves to turn out the sitting member, and take 
in Mr. Shaw; and they considered their object as accomplished. 
To guard against accidents, they had made preparation to turn 
out Mr. Emmitt, of White, and to admit in his stead a Mr. Craw. 

The Convention Resolution was offered in the House on the 
27th Jan. 1823, and although Mr. Hansen then voted for it, it 
was defeated for that time for want of the requisite two-thirds. 
At this time Mr. McFatridge of Johnson, and Mr. Rattan of 
Greene, voted against the resolution. At the next trial, on the 
nth Feb., it was again defeated, Mr. Hansen voting against it, 
and Messrs. McFatridge and Rattan for it. It was understood 
that the member from Greene had been brought over by "instruc- 
tions," and that the member from Johnson changed his vote in 
pursuance of a "compromise," by which it was stipulated that the 
seat of justice of that county should be removed. The resolution 
was passed by his vote; but the other part of the compromise was 
not fulfilled. 



320 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

He bitterly repented his course, declared that he was 
"bursted," and urged me to write against the Convention. 

A few words in explanation of the course pursued respectively 
by Messrs. Hansen and Shaw. 

There was no slave party in Pike county, but the voters 
were divided almost equally between the Hansen party and the 
Shaw party. Each of these parties had local objects to accom- 
plish. For this purpose, the party of Mr. Hansen desired him to 
retain his seat, and his influence with the majority of the House. 
The Shaw party, believing that the Convention resolution would 
certainly be passed by some means, and not realizing that there 
was any danger of the introduction of slavery, desired their leader 
to obtain the seat to which they believed he was entitled. Mr. 
Hansen voted for the Convention Resolution when he knew that 
his vote would not carry it, and thus retained his seat ten weeks. 
When he found that it would carry if he voted for it, he voted 
against it. He was then turned out, and Mr. Shaw admitted, by 
whose vote the resolution was passed. By these means Mr. Shaw 
occupied the seat one week, but failed in the accomplishment of 
most of the local objects which he had in view. Both Mr. Hansen 
and Mr. Shaw appear to have retained the confidence of their 
respective parties; for at the succeeding election they were rival 
candidates again; came out nearly equal; and had another contest 
before the House. The seat was again awarded to Mr. Hansen, 
and he held it during the session. 

I have a vivid recollection of the scenes of that exciting period; 
but I have not trusted to memory alone in making these remarks. 
They are submitted for the sole purpose of "vindicating the truth 
of history." 

G, Churchill. 
Troy, Madison County, 111. May 2, 1851. 

Editorial by Warren, December 28, 1854 
[Free West, December 28, 1854] 

As we intimated last week, we republish in this number a 
letter from the Hon. George Churchill, which we received from 
him while editor of the Bureau Advocate. It was written by him 



APPENDIX 321 

upon the occasion of the appearance of "Leaves from Governor 
Ford's History of Illinois," some three years in advance of its 
publication. Mr. C. was a member of the Legislature referred to, 
and is doubtless in possession of the Journals for that period. — 
He was also a liberal subscriber to newspapers, and regularly filed 
them, as well as all such, and other documents that occasionally 
came to his hands. Full credit is therefore due to his statements 
of fact, which those who had the manuscript of the History in 
charge might have availed themselves of, and thereby so far 
render any "vindication of the truth of history" unnecessary. 

A narrative of the affair between Messrs. Hansen and Shaw, 
in the Legislature, was published in the "Genius of Liberty," at 
Lowell, Lasalle county, in December, 1840; another, of the same 
events, was given by William H. Brown, Esq., in a lecture in this 
city, about the same time. It is presumed that Governor Ford 
read these statements on their publication; but that, on writing 
his book, he considered them of secondary importance to the great 
events of his own public life and times, and consequently, in regard 
to the former, did not advert to documents, or charge his memory 
with them. 

It was not known to the Convention or slave party, at the 
commencement of the session, that they would need both Hansen 
and Shaw, to carry the two points — there-election of Judge Thomas 
to the United States Senate, and the Convention question. Han- 
sen was of their party, and they relied upon his fidelity and support 
in all the measures they might undertake. 

In his account of the canvass of 1822, Governor Ford mentions 
two Chief Justices, (Joseph Phillips and Thomas Reynolds,) 
which may to readers not acquainted with the circumstances, 
need explanation. 

Upon becoming a candidate for Governor in 1822, Mr. Phillips 
resigned his ofiice of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was 
unquestionably the most talented man of his party, and had the 
full confidence of the bar, which we take to be the best criterion 
of a good Judge. We never heard anything disreputable to his 
moral character, excepting the taking of a prominent part in the 
"noisy, disorderly, and tumultous procession" at Vandalia, as 
related by Governor Ford, and corrected as to time in the letter 



322 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of Mr. Churchill. After the defeat of the Convention Judge 
Phillips returned to Tennessee, whence he came, and was after- 
wards a member of the noted "white-washing committee" at 
Nashville. 

Gov. Bond appointed Thomas Reynolds, the Clerk of the 
House of Representatives, to be Chief Justice in the place of 
Judge Phillips, which office he held until the reorganization of the 
Judiciary in 1824, as required by the Constitution. He was a 
talented man, but not over-nice and scrupulous in his moral 
deportment. At the new election of Judges, he was defeated, 
very much to the satisfaction of the friends of good order and moral 
reform. After practicing law a year or two, he pulled up stakes in 
Illinois, and moved to the upper part of Missouri, where he found 
a people more congenial to his taste and habits. — There he rose 
rapidly to preferment. First, a member of the Legislature; next, 
as Speaker of the House of Representatives; and lastly, as Gover- 
nor of the State. While holding the latter office he committed 
suicide. Political troubles were said to be the cause of that 
desperate act. 

Among the measures of Governor Coles which gave dissatis- 
faction to the anti-slavery party, was his disingenuous treatment 
of Morris Birkbeck, whom he had appointed Secretary of State 
during the recess. Mr. Birkbeck conferred honor upon the station, 
not the station upon him. Although an Englishman by birth, he 
was a republican in principle; of high endowments in literary 
acquirements, and of deep research in the sciences. He was an 
honorary member of most of the great literary and scientific 
associasions [sic] of England and France. During the visit of 
General Lafayette to this country, upon his arrival in St. Louis in 
1824, he made earnest inquiries of a citizen of Illinois present, for 
Mr. Birkbeck— speaking of him as a personal friend, and of his 
desire to see him. Such a man was of too much worth, and of too 
high standing to be trifled with, even by the Governor of a State. 

The letters of "Jonathan Freeman" had not been forgotten 
by the leaders of the Convention party, at the commencement of 
the session of 1824-5. Yet it was conceded on all sides, that had 
the nomination of Mr. Birkbeck been immediately sent to the 
Senate upon the organization of that body, it would have been 



APPENDIX 323 

confirmed without any difficulty, if not without opposition. But 
it was delayed till near the close of the session, when parties were 
better organized and rival interests formed. His rejection then 
was almost a matter of course. A few years after, Mr. Birkbeck 
was drowned while attempting to cross a swollen creek, on horse- 
back, near New Harmony. 

H. W. 



Peck^ to Warren, March 24, 1855 
[Free West, April 12, 1855] 

H. Warren, Esq. Dear Sir. — While attending the March 
term of our Circuit Court in Belleville, III., I saw at the house of 
Gov. Reynolds, "The Free West," of December 21, 1854, with 
the article over the initials of your name. On reaching home this 
week, I found a copy of the same paper addressed to my name. 
Permit me in this public manner to return you my many thanks 
for this expression of old recollections, and to make some correc- 
tions in your statements, and some brief animadversions on the 
late Governor Ford's "History". 

I am not writing a "History" of Illinois, nor do I regard 
myself under obligations to produce a book of that description. 

In February, 1833, the writer gave two historical lectures, 
in the State House at Vandalia, in the presence of the members of 
the Legislature and a large company of gentlemen and ladies; — 
one was on the Indian History, and the other on the French 

^Peck, John Mason, born in Litchfield, Connecticut, October 31, 1789; 181 1, 
removed to Greene County, New York; entered on pastoral work in Baptist 
church, supporting himself by teaching; 1814, became pastor of a church at 
Amenia; 1817, sent west as missionary; 1817-1826, served as itinerant preacher 
and teacher; settled at Rock Spring, St. Clair County, Illinois; 1826, established 
the Rock Spring Seminary for the education of teachers and ministers; was instru- 
mental in securing endowment for Shurtleff College, which developed from Rock 
Spring Seminary, and was founded at Upper Alton in 1835; served as trustee for 
many years; aided in establishing theological institution at Covington, Kentucky; 
1 843-1 845, served as corresponding secretary and financial agent of the American 
Baptist Publication Society, with headquarters at Philadelphia; later served as 
pastor of churches in Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois; wrote much for various 
periodicals; 1831, published a Guide for Emigrants; 1834, published a Gazetteer of 
Illinois; 1850, published Annals of the JVest; was an industrious collector o 
historical records; 1852, received the degree of D.D. from Harvard University; 
died at Rock Spring, March 15, 1858. Bateman and Selby, Historical Encyclopedia 
of Illinois y i: 417; Babcock, Memoir of John Mason Peck, D.D. 



324 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

History of this State. A committee was appointed, at the head of 
which, was the late Governor Ford, who reported a series 
of resolutions, calling on the writer to make a complete history of 
Illinois, and a "Committee of Correspondence" was appointed to 
aid in collecting materials. 

All the promises the writer made was to do his best to collect 
materials for such a work; leaving it to Providence and future 
contingenc[i]es whether he would write out and publish them. 
In gathering materials, the writer soon found he could compile a 
Book that might pass current as a History of Illinois; but like 
similar works, gotten up from second hand authorities, and in 
customary haste, it would be a mixture of truth and fiction, of 
facts and fables; like a large proportion of the "Histories'* 
already published. He knew it would be the labor of years to 
prepare an accurate and truthful history of Illinois. 

Two resolutions introduced by gentlemen, at the meeting 
referred to, after consultation with the writer, express his views 
of the characteristics of such a History. I give them herewith. 

"On motion of J. M. Hewitt, Esq., 

Resolved^ That a complete history of Illinois should embrace 
the various stages of its progress, from its earliest discoveries to 
the present time; and the various relations of its inhabitants, 
political, military, commerical, moral, and religious. 

On motion of Jesse B. Thomas, Esq., 

Resolved^ That a history of Illinois should be complete in its 
parts, methodical in its arrangement, accurate and discriminating 
in all its details, perfectly impartial in its characteristics, and 
divested of all political, religious and local prepossessions. 

Any book that does not possess these characteristics, does not 
deserve the grave title of The History of Illinois^ or any other 
State. 

In collecting materials, it was soon found necessary, to include 
in the collection the early history of the Mississippi Valley. This 
has been done. A large amount of newspaper files, public docu- 
ments, pamphlets and other printed matter, amounting to several 
thousand volumes, unbound, was consumed in the fire that burnt 
the old building long known as Rockspring Seminary, on Nov. i8, 
1852. But the most valuable things, for such a history were 



APPENDIX 325 

preserved in the dwelling house of the writer. He has felt easy, 
and disposed to approve the labors of others in the same field. 
No writer has been in his way, or retarded his progress. The 
public have been amused, instructed and gratified in reading both 
Brown's and Ford's Histories of Illinois. The first is a conglom- 
meration [sic] of facts, moral suggestions, speculations, and the 
notions of the writer. It contains an irregular series of historical 
notes and sketches of various European and American affairs, 
in which Illinois has a share. So many important events were 
left out, and so many doubtful things put in, and so many mistakes 
were made about occurrences before the author knew the country, 
that the work is of little worth even as a source of reference. 

Ford's History^ with all its mistakes, is far superior to the one 
by Brown. But as you justly remark, he wrote the book to defend 
his own administration, and it is to be regretted that he did not 
confine himself to his "Own Times''. He would have done himself 
and his friends, and even his opponents more justice. The writer 
ever regarded Governor Ford in a friendly aspect, heard him read 
portions of his work in manuscript, and had his friendly corre- 
spondence during the term of his administration as Governor. 

The ''Pioneer History of Illinois" ^ by Gov. Reynolds, pub- 
lished in Belleville, 1852, you have not noticed. Have you ever 
seen it? 

It purports to be a history of the discovery of the country 
from 1673, to the formation of the State government in 18 18. It 
commences with the aborigines, takes in the French period, then 
the British period from 1765 to 1778, when the country was taken 
by Gen. Clark, annexed to Virginia; and in 1784, ceded to the 
continental Congress. For much of this portion of the history, 
the Governor acknowledges himself indebted to the ''Annals of the 
West" which the writer revised and greatly enlarged, for Mr. 
Albach the proprietor and publisher, in 1850. In that work is a 
sufficiency of original matter to constitute the Annals of Missouri 
and Illinois, with copious references to authorities. 

From 1804, Governor Reynolds relies much on his memory 
and that of the old inhabitants of this and neighboring counties. 
The writer, by request of the author, prepared a chapter of 



326 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

sixteen pages, headed, " The Religions and Morals of Illinois, prior 
to i8i8r 

The particular value of this work as a book of reference, 
consists in the sketches of families and individuals, and a vast 
multitude of incidents and anecdotes connected with their lives 
and pursuits. There are mistakes of course, for who can give a 
perfect and accurate history of several hundred persons, the most 
of whom with their personal acquaintances have long since passed 
away. The book is without an index, and contents to the chap- 
ters; — a most serious defect as a work of reference, which the 
author now regrets. — Fifteen hundred copies were printed by a 
"jour," on a Ramage press and an old fount of type, in the Gover- 
nor's law office in Belleville; the author supposing none but the 
old settlers, and plain illiterate people would read it. It was set in 
type, fast as the author could scratch off the sheets, without any 
clerical corrections, and the proofs badly read. And yet, with all 
these defects, this "Pioneer History" is a unique and valuable 
book, and will be sought after by the future historian, as a 
most valuable text book. Last year the Governor wrote and 
published a little \i mo. volume of 264 pp. entitled "Sketches of 
the Country on the Northern Route from Belleville, III., to the city of 
New York, and back by the Ohio Valley, together with a glance at 
the Crystal Palace." The tour was made in 1853, and the 
"Sketches" furnish much valuable information and a mass of 
statistical facts pertaining to the commercial and other business 
in the cities and towns along the route. 

Gov. Reynolds is now employed on a work that will exceed 
in size, " Ford's History of Illinois,"- — entitled " My Own Times ". 
I have read portions of this work, and hestitate not to predict there 
will be disappointment on the part of those who are disposed to 
smile at the appearance of an auto-biography from the "Old 
Ranger;" and I am disposed to leave the "yankees" to "guess," 
and the "natives" to "reckon," in what way they will be 
disappointed. 

Thus you see, Mr. "Associate Editor," I have corrected 
your errors about the persons you name in St. Clair county, 
"each writing a history of Illinois". 

I will now tell you what I am doing. As an itinerant preacher 



APPENDIX 327 

or even a local one, I am "used up." I can neither endure the 
fatigue and exposure of traveling on the range, or performing 
pastoral services. Providence has left me with the ability to 
perform but one branch of business. I can use the pen with more 
facility and less fatigue than most men at my age. Hence I am 
shut up to one pursuit; writing for periodicals, and making books. 
A printed circular, that accompanies this communication, will 
inform you of my plan of operations; the issue of which depends 
on that merciful Providence who guards our health and prolongs 
the thread of life. My principal work in anticipation. Is a large 
volume to be called "The Moral Progress of The Mississippi 
Valley," of which I will give the following extracts from a printed 
"Circular." 

"Such a work, after much condensation, and using statistical 
tables, can be comprised In an octavo volume of about eight or 
nine hundred pages. The general plan will be a combination of 
annals, and continuous history of periods. The compiler will aim 
to give, from authentic documents and the testimony of living 
witnesses, a concise account of the principal facts concerning 
the rise, progress, and present condition of each Christian denomi- 
nation, from the earliest settlement to the present time — the com- 
mencement and progress of Sabbath School and Bible Class 
Instruction — Tract distribution — efforts of Bible Societies — the 
distribution of religious books by itinerant preachers, and latterly 
by the employment of colporteurs — the labors of missionaries, 
and the operations of the denominational missionary societies of 
the Atlantic States In this Valley; with the operations and effects 
of other benevolent and philanthropic societies that have aided In 
the moral progress of the inhabitants. Education, and its pro- 
gressive effects by common schools, public schools In cities, 
academies, seminaries and colleges will be reviewed. 

The Press, with its various influences and bearings, will be 
given. 

Laws in the several States for the conservation of morals and 
good order, with the influence of our political Institutions on the 
morals of the people, will be noticed. 

Biographical Sketches of ministers of the gospel, jurists, 
legislators, and other laymen, who in public or private life have 



328 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

aided in the advancement of morals and religion in this Valley, 
will be interspersed through the work. 

It is not the business of the historian to hold controversy, or 
presume to adjudge disputes between the religious sects, but to 
give the facts as accurately as possible, and leave the reader to 
deduce his own inferences, and do his own moralizing. The author 
proposes to allow a wide margin for diversities of opinion on dis- 
puted points of faith and practice; but it will be his province to 
judge of the legitimate tendencies of customs, institutions, and 
social organizations, whether as a whole they have been beneficial 
or injurious to the moral progress of the population of this Valley. 

While collecting further materials for the book described in 
this circular, he will finish and have published several smaller 
books, chiefly of a biographical character, but specially intended 
to illustrate the manners, usages, and incidents of frontier life." 

This communication is already protracted to sufficient length 
for the columns of a newspaper. But there are facts within the 
writer's personal knowledge, connected with the anti-slavery 
contest in i823-'24 in Illinois, and especially pertaining to Gover- 
nor Coles, that may as well go before the public, and will be the 
topics of another article. 

Respectfully yours, J. M. Peck. 

Rock Spring, 111., March 24th, 1855 

Peck to Warren, March 26, 1855 

[Free West, April 26, 1855] 

H. Warren, Esq., Dear Sir: — The position of Governor 
Coles and the Editor of the Edwardsville Spectator, in relation to 
each other, politically and personally, had the tendency to cause 
each to mistake and prejudge the other, during the period of the 
political excitement of 1823-24. Both were the unflinching 
opponents of the Convention and Slave-introducing scheme. 
Each in his sphere of action performed valiant service in the cause 
of freedom. The writer at that time was honored with the personal 
friendship of both. 

Governor Edwards, then a Senator in Congress, and Governor 
Coles, then Chief Magistrate of Illinois, occupied positions some- 



APPENDIX 329 

what adverse in national politics. Both were personal friends 
with the writer, who occupied a position somewhat distant from 
the political agitations of Washington city. The late Governor 
Ford was not in active life, and for part of the time was not in the 
State during the period of the Convention Question, and the rest 
of the period he resided in Monroe county. Doubtless he wrote 
from impressions that floated through his mind, from what he 
heard others say, but he has left in his book a tissue of mistakes. 

Governor Edwards, in the most frank and open manner, at 
all times in conversation, and by strong and well written articles 
in the papers, opposed the Slavery project. So did the late 
Daniel P. Cook, our representative in Congress. 

Governor Coles was then, and is to this day, an opponent of 
Slavery, and especially of every attempt to extend it into free 
territory. I have enjoyed his friendship, and had the honor of an 
intimate acquaintance with him since the commencement of the 
anti-slavery contest in 1823. He has furnished me the leading 
incidents of his life, including his earliest convictions of the wrong 
of slave-holding, and all the circumstances attendant on the eman- 
cipation of his slaves. 

At the request of the writer, after long and repeated interviews, 
Governor Coles sent him a communication, intended to be used 
at his discretion in the "Moral Progress," etc., already referred 
to. In relation to the attempt to introduce slavery into Illinois 
during his administration, Mr. Coles uses this language: 

"I often recur to that time as the most interesting period of 
my life; and the longer I live, the more I approve and rejoice at 
our successful labors in preventing the monstrous efforts then 
made to make Illinois a slave-holding state. Or, in the cant 
phrase of the present day, of our 'preventing the extention of the 
area of freedom,' by preventing the extention of slavery over 
Illinois; — an absurd and outrageous perversion of language, as 
well as of principle, and adding absurdity to the glaring and revolt- 
ing inconsistencies of poor, frail human nature, in tolerating and 
justifying the existence and perpetuity of slavery in this country." 

Edward Coles was born in Albemarle county, Va., Dec. 15, 
1786! His father was a rich planter, and owned several planta- 
tions, with a large number of slaves. But having ten children to 



330 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

divide his estate among, the property to each child was not great. 
He received his education at William and Mary College, under the 
Presidency of Bishop Madison. He writes in the letter I have 
already quoted (Jan. 7, 1847, and we heard him narrate the par- 
ticulars before this date.) 

"Before I finished my education, I became convinced that 
man could not rightfully have a property in his fellow man; and 
not being able to reconcile slavery as it existed in Virginia, with 
my feelings and principles, I determined to free my slaves, and 
leave the State." 

His father died a year after he left college, and he inherited 
a farm and about twenty slaves, when he made his intention 
known to the family and offered his plantation for sale. But the 
embarrassments of the country prevented a sale for several years, 
during which his slaves remained there, increased in number, and 
were made comfortable. In the mean time, Mr. Coles received 
the appointment of private Secretary, and resided in the family of 
President Madison, nearly six years. He was then sent on special 
public business, as bearer of despatches to Russia, and made the 
tour of the continent. On his return, accompanied by Charles, 
one of his servants, he made a tour on horseback to St. Louis and 
Illinois, explored the country and determined to bring his slaves 
to this State for freedom. In March, 18 19, he removed to this 
State with wagons and horses to Brownsville, and there he pro- 
cured three flatboats, and with his servants and chattels, descended 
the Ohio to New Albany. There were then, as now, officious 
intermed[d]lers along the right bank of the Ohio, who made efforts 
to persuade the darkies to elope to a free country. They understood 
their place of destination to be St. Louis, and so they told inquirers. 
— Charles had been there and to Illinois, and he was enthusiastic 
in praise of the country, as a very paradise for the darkies. No 
intimations of freedom had been given them. — Their master was 
an experimental philosopher, and desired to witness their behavior 
at the moment of learning their freedom. They were encamped 
above the falls, and descended the Shute just after daylight. The 
instant the boats, which were lashed together, were in smooth 
water near the Indiana shore, all the servants, young and old, 
were ordered on deck to hear "the last words and dying speech" 



APPENDIX 331 

of a slaveholder! He reminded them of their common birthplace 
on the same plantation, that they had been raised together, that 
they had recognized him as their master, and had given abundant 
proofs of their attachment and obedience to him. He told them 
the country they saw on the left hand side of the river was Ken- 
tucky, where the colored people were slaves as in old Virginia; 
but on the right hand was Indiana, where there were no slaves, 
but all were free. He pointed out the town of New Albany 
towards which they were floating and said, " there I shall leave the 
boats and take the wagons and horses across by land to Illinois, 
where the colored people are free. From this moment you are all 
free. You may go with me^ or you ??iay stay here." He watched 
their countenances and behavior with intense interest. — It was 
just after the sun threw his golden beams over the landscape. For 
a minute, not a word was spoken. The expression was that of 
overwhelming astonishment, until one of the older ones bur&t out 
in a passionate exclamation, "No Massa, taint so," and choked up 
with sobs and tears. "No — no — no — " responded on every side, 
from affectionate hearts. Theolderoneswerereligiousandbelonged 
to the Methodist society. One of the men, somewhat advanced 
in life, spoke as if on behalf of the rest, and remonstrated against 
the whole business; that their young master, as they called him, 
could not labor, and they were necessary to his support, and would 
go with him wherever he chose. I might give page after page of 
details, but it will suffice to say, that they all landed in New 
Albany, the boats were sold for old lumber, and the caravan 
moved across the country by Vincennes. A part of the servants 
were located in Edwardsville, and a part at St. Louis, according to 
their own choice. I will give here the language of Gov. Coles in 
the written document already quoted, as an answer to all sur- 
misings on the subject. 

Writing about the collection of his money for his plantation 
in March, 1819, he says, "I then took at my expense all my negroes 
to Illinois and St. Louis and emancipated them, except the old 
women, who being incapable of supporting themselves, I retained 
as slaves, and supported them during their lives. As a reward for 
past services, and a stimulus to future exertion, I gave to three families 
emancipated, a quarter section {160 acres) of land to EACH. 



332 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

A more full account of my negroes was given by me in a 
letter in June, 1822, and published in that or the next month in 
the Illinois Newspaper."^ 

I have just examined the Edwardsville Spectator, and find 
in the number of July 6th, 1822, this letter, with full explanations, 
of a man, his wife and five children; in St. Louis, all of whom 
became free, by a special arrangement, made in Virginia, in 
August, 1825. — The letter was first published in the Illinois 
Intelligencer, and copied into the Spectator. The letter contains 
the same statement about the gift of a quarter section of land to 
each of the three families that settled in Illinois. They became 
Baptists at a subsequent period, and with John Livingston, 
Samuel Vincent, and several others, became the nucleus of the 
colored baptist churches in this state. Robert Crawford (with 
his wife, and one of these families, has been an ordained preacher 
in the Baptist connection, for about twenty-five years. He lives 
in Fayette county, where he has a large farm, and is "well to do" 
in this world. 

Governor Coles was persecuted and reviled, both while in 
and out of office, by a class of men whose moral and political 
characters would have disqualified them for blacking his boots. 
But they are gone! — with thousands of others who destroyed 
themselves by whiskey and rowdyism, while he whom they reviled 
and despised, is the possessor of large wealth, and at the head of a 
most interesting family in Philadelphia, beloved and respected 
by a large circle of friends. The writer knows him intimately, 
and never fails to enjoy his hospitality, when in that city. 

Gov. Coles performed a part in the anti-slavery contest in 
1824, known to but few. There are a series of facts known to the 
writer in that contest, never yet made public, and which will 
require an additional article. 

J. M. Peck, 
Rock Spring, 111. March 26. 

• Peck to Warren, March 27, 1855 
[Free West, May 3, 1855] 
To H. Warren, Esq.. — In this article, it will be the aim of the 
*See fl«/f, 261-263. 



APPENDIX 333 

writer to exhibit historical facts, not published in any history of 
the State, and known at the time to but few. 

1, There was an outside influence at work from the first, 
even before the question was opened in Illinois. A still and quiet 
effort was made by leading politicians in slave-holding States, to 
bring about a revolution on slavery in the north-western States, 
especially in Illinois and Indiana, and ultimately it was thought 
in Ohio. 

The motive for such a movement was found in the efforts of 
the north to suppress slavery in Missouri. The writer has long 
regarded the introduction of the "Missouri Question" into 
Congress, as one of the most unfortunate and misguided move- 
ments, for the cause of freedom and negro emancipation, in the 
history of our country. Louisiana, including Missouri, was a 
slaveholding country from its earliest settlement. Slavery was 
established there by the positive laws of the Crown of France, in 
the early part of the i8th century. The terrific convulsion in an 
effort of Congress to limit and control slavery, where it had 
existed for more than a century by the law of the country, resulted 
in placing certain leading politicians in the slave-holding States 
in an aggressive position towards such free States as were deemed 
susceptible in a change of policy. The writer derived his infor- 
mation from three sources of undoubted authority, and with others, 
made use of the facts to arouse the jealousy of the people to resist 
this encroachment on their rights from abroad. He, with others, 
then took and maintained the position, that the people of other 
States had no business with the question of slavery in Illinois; 
that it was a subject that belonged to the voters in this State, and 
to them alone to settle. — He remains of the same opinion still, and 
hence has been opposed to all interjerence of the citizens of free States 
with slavery in other States. 

2. Soon as the news of the passage of the Convention resolu- 
tion reached St. Clair county, an individual well known to the 
writer, promptly visited a number of gentlemen in the county 
known to be opposed to slavery; a preliminary meeting was called, 
the outlines of a plan of operations was proposed, and a committee 
was appointed to draft a constitution, and call a general meeting. — 
A much larger meeting was held in Belleville, March 22nd, 1823, 



334 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

a constitution adopted, and t\\t'' St.Clair Society for the prevention of 
slavery in the State of Illinois "-w us duly organized, and the managers 
instructed to prepare and publish an address to the people. 

You may find the Constitution and Address in the files of 
the Edwardsville Spectator of April 12th. Though he declined 
office in the society, the Constitution and Address, were both 
written by the writer. Among the curiosities of the time was the 
presence in this meeting oi thirty preachers of the gospel, methodists 
and baptists; several coming from adjoining counties. John 
Messinger, Esq. was President, and Dr. Charles Woodworth, 
Cor. Secretary. Rev. Samuel Mitchell (Methodist, who is still 
living in Missouri, at the very advanced age of 96,) was one of the 
managers, and chairman of the committee. In the address was 
a call was made [sic] on the opponents of the introduction of 
Slavery in Illinois to form similar societies in other counties. In 
less than six months, fourteen societies had been organized in as 
many counties, and a train of measures adopted, that produced 
effect in every county and precinct through the inhabited portion 
of the State. Belleville was the seat of operations. Doct. Charles 
Woodworth, (who died of the cholera in the American Bottom, 
in 1 851) was the medium of correspondence. Each society had 
its confident[i]al correspondents in each precinct, and every suc- 
ceeding month, accurate knowledge was obtained at the office in 
Belleville, of the state and progress of the question. An all- 
pervading influence was felt in every settlement. The individual 
heretofore alluded to, had occasion to travel into nearly every 
county in the State during the pendency of the question. And 
without being known as a partisam, [sic] he could easily find out 
who could be depended upon for correspondents. And it is a 
singular fact that not an instance ever come to the knowledge of 
the committee, of any one betraying his trust. Another principle 
was sacredly regarded by the managers; to use no unfair means, 
and to avoid all exaggeration and all misrepresentations. Fiat 
Justitia mat Caelum, was their practical motto. The Anti- 
Convention party had the whole State under their control, and 
the question virtually decided, before their opponents got up a 
public organization at Vandalia. 

3. Not only did the opponents of slavery nobly contribute 



APPENDIX 335 

^1,000 in state paper from their perquisites, as members of the 
legislature, but other gentlemen contributed liberally, and Gover- 
nor Coles, gave^ privately and cheerfully^ his salary of $1,000 per 
annum, for the period of four years. This fact was published in 
the "Annals of the West,'' in 1850. It is affirmed on the testimony 
of the writer, who has known the fact for many years. 

Surely you recollect of boxes of pamphlets, or tracts being 
sent to different parts of the State during the contest? These 
documents were ably written and proved effective missiles in the 
war. You may recollect there was no small curiosity, about where 
they came from, and who paid the publisher? — Our opponents were 
put to their wits end to find out the secret. For a long time it was 
confined to the breast of an individual in this State, and two or 
three benevolent gentlemen who supervised the printing and sent 
off the packages. You know now the fountain from whence issued 
these little rills. 

4. Simultaneous with the movement in St. Clair county, the 

office of Secretary of State became vacant by the resignation of 

Judge Lockwood. The writer was in Edwardsville, and had 

stopped for a short time at the house of Mr. Hopkins, intending 

to reach home the same night. He received a private note from 

Governor Coles, requesting him to call at his room at the house of 

James Mason, on special and private business, without fail. On 

arriving at Mr. Mason's, the Governor urged the writer to tarry, 

as he had important business on hand, and desired to consult the 

writer alone. It was the appointment of Secretary of State. He 

must be sufficiently learned in the law, to discharge the duties of 

the office with ability. He must be an anti-convention man in 

position and principle; and as a matter then strictly confidential, 

he must be able on a certain contingency to conduct the editorial 

department of a newspaper. — Gov. C. then made known to the 

writer the project of purchasing, through a friendly agency, an 

mterest in the Intelligencer at Vandalia, a paper that by an outrage 

on the part of the majority of the legislature, had been taken from 

the control of Wm. H. Brown, Esq., and made the leading organ 

of the convention party .^ 

^The legislature, by voting the public printing to "Blackwell and Berry," 
forced Brown to give up his interest in the Illinois Intelligencer. See post, 358- 
359; Brown, Slavery in Illinois, 25-26; Edwardsville Spectator, February 22, 1823. 



336 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Reflecting on the subject in all its bearings, the writer saw 
in the Governor's plan a bold and successful stroke. Whatever 
might have been the encouragement, when the Edwardsville 
Spectator was our single battery, to capture and turn the Intelli- 
gencer against the enemy, would ensure his defeat. David Black- 
welly Esq., of Belleville, was the only man in the State that would 
answer all the purposes, within our knowledge, and we suggested 
him. The Governor sprang to his feet, and exclaimed "He is the 
very man; why did I not think of him." Next morning the writer 
was on his way soon as day-light appeared, and after obtaining 
a late breakfast at a certain log cabin at Rock Spring, was closeted 
in the office of David Blackwell, Esq., in Belleville, on a secret 
mission of state concern. 

Mr. Blackwell had not voted for Governor Coles, had no 
personal acquaintance with him, and never dreamed of an office 
from that quarter. Of course, he had to be informed confidentially, 
of the Newspaper project. — Like other lawyers in that moneyless 
era, he was in straightened circumstances, and the Secretary- 
ship was a real God-send to supply the wants of a young family. 
The question being settled on his part, it devolved on the writer to 
communicate with the Governor, who had promised to issue the 
commission the moment he had the report of our mission. Well 
might you say, (Free West, Dec. 21, '54,) "David Blackwell, a 
lawyer of Belleville, and a brother of the former proprietor, l^y 
some means, of which, we are n§t advised, got possession and control 
of the Intelligencer at Vandalia, &c. For many months, the project 
was known only to three persons, of which the writer was one. 
It was not for nearly twelve months, that it was consummated. 
You say (from memory, doubtless) "in the month of June, six 
weeks before the election." It was the first of May, the announce- 
ment was made by a hand-bill, while delegates from the Convention 
party were assembled at the seat of government, to adopt vigorous 
measures to carry out the election. A bomb-shell falling from the 
sky and exploding in a camp, where no enemy was thought to be 
near, could not have produced greater consternation! Turning 
the guns, of that battery into the thickest of their ranks was fatal 
to the party. 

The question being decided in August, the anti-convention 



APPENDIX 337 

party disbanded, the county societies died, and in a very few 
months there was not a single prominent man (save in St. Clair 
county,) who would own he was in favor of introducing slavery 
within the State. 

Respectfully yours, J. M. Peck, 

Rock Spring, 111. March 27th. 



Replication by Warren, May 3, 1855 
[Free West, May 3, 1855] 

The last of the series of communications from the reverend 
and venerable John M. Peck, is inserted on the first page of this 
paper. It is hoped that the two preceding numbers have received 
a due share of the attention of the readers of the Free West, and 
that the same favor will be extended to the present article from 
his pen. 

As these numbers are addressed to me, individually, and pur- 
port to have been written in consequence of my review of that 
chapter of Governor Ford's History of Illinois, in which I am per- 
sonally identified, although I dislike to be egotistical, it will be 
more convenient to adopt the style of the first person singular in 
my replication. 

As associate editor of the Western Citizen, as well as the Free 
West, in which the former is merged, I have several times had 
occasion to allude to the religious and political bearings of Mr. 
Peck, past and present, in which, with feelings of enthusiasm, I 
expressed admiration and approval of his early career. Our first 
meeting was at St. Louis, in 18 18, where he appeared as a Mission- 
ary from an eastern Society for Illinois and Missouri. With an 
industry indefatigable, and an eloquence which riveted the atten- 
tion of his hearers wherever he spoke, he soon acquired a widely 
extended influence for good in the several communities he visited. 
Col. Benton, the editor of a scurrilous newspaper, called the "St. 
Louis Enquirer," endeavored to curtail his usefulness by ridicule, 
but in vain. 

At an early period of the pendency of the Convention question, 
Mr. Peck was engaged in the extreme southern portions of Illinois, 
in the distribution of Bibles, and the organization of Sunday 



338 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Schools. While in that service he had the address and skill to 
discover, and embody in appropriate action all the anti-slavery 
element of that region without rousing the suspicion of the slavery 
propagandists. Had that been done, there is no doubt he would 
have been mobbed and his life endangered. In a letter to a friend 
in Edwardsville, giving a cheering account of the progress and pros- 
pect of our cause in the parts visited by him, and advising that 
proper agents be sent to those sections of the State, he remarked, 
"I am intensely engaged in a more important mission." 

But in the allusions to the course of Mr. Peck, above referred 
to, I took occasion to lament his sad dereliction, as he has ever 
since the termination of that contest occupied a position, which a 
certain religious denomination term, in regard to its recusant 
members who have gone back again to the world — "fallen from 
grace." He is even more obnoxious to the charge of delinquency, 
as he has gone over to the side of the oppressor, by placing himself 
in antagonism to the efforts of the friends of freedom to check and 
limit the Slave Power. Moreover, on the passage of the Fugitive 
Slave Law, he essayed in approval and support of that execrable 
enactment — a position which it seems to me impossible for a lover 
of his kind, or of human rights, to occupy. But he does not stand 
alone. He has gone with the multitude, I will not say for evil 
intentionally, though practically, as I am constrained to believe — 
and of the host who opposed the introduction of Slavery into the 
States at that time, I know of but three individuals besides myself, 
who have since taken an active part to stay its strides, and confine 
it to its own conceded bounds. These are Major Hunter, of 
Alton, Judge Snow, of Quincy, and the Rev. Thomas Lippincott, 
of Madison county. The event proves that the majority acted 
through fear, a dread of the entrance of the monster in their midst, 
and not from any principle of right or wrong in the matter. 

Mr. Peck commences his second number by saying, "The 
position of Governor Coles and the Editor of the Edwardsville 
Spectator, in relation to each other, politically and personally, 
had the tendency to cause each to mistake and prejudge the other, 
during the period of political excitement of 1823-24." So far as 
I am myself concerned, I cannot subscribe to the accuracy of this 
statement; for I had all the opportunities of knowing Mr. Coles, 



APPENDIX 339 

without mistake, as well and as thoroughly as one man could know 
another. The mistake and prejudging was all on his part. For, 
although a native of the Granite State, for a long time after our 
first acquaintance he mistook me for a Kentuckian, and for aught 
he knew to the contrary I was entitled to affix the initials "F.F.V." 
to my name. We boarded together at a hotel, and for several 
months lodged in the same room. During this time, as he was 
very communicative, I learned his inmost heart, morally, politi- 
cally and socially. On the score of the first characteristic, I was 
not disposed to take any exception; but in regard to the two latter, 
my sense of propriety forbid me for a moment to receive or enter- 
tain him him as a leader. I found him to possess an inveterate 
and unconquerable prejudice against "Yankees," and his aversion 
to them could only be allayed by the hope or prospect of using 
them to the advancement of his purposes. In politics, "the 
South" was all in all to him. The Richmond Enquirer was his 
Bible, and Father Ritchie his oracle. Southern statesmen only, 
appeared to be in his view as having a right to the management 
and control of public affairs. He was exceedingly loquacious, and, 
although his conversations were generally interesting, (our 
couches being side by side) he more than once talked me to sleep. 
The subjects of his narratives were, his management of the eti- 
quette of the President's House, while Private Secretary of Mr. 
Madison, and of the adventures of his European tour. The inci- 
dents of the latter were sometimes very amusing. They consisted 
of accounts of his dining and sporting with the Lords and Nobles, 
and of the great respect and attention paid to him, particularly 
while at London, Paris and St. Petersburgh; of his gallanting the 
Ladies of the Courts — and how they offered to learn him the 
"Twelve Positions." 

The third number commences with an averment that there 
was an "outside influence" at work before the Convention ques- 
tion was opened in Illinois, and that the writer derived his infor- 
mation from three sources of undoubted authority. I, too, was 
cognizant of that fact, from as many reliable sources, as well as by 
anonymous letters from Kentucky and Missouri. But the won- 
der is, why Mr. Peck did not impart such important information 
to his confidential friend, Mr. Coles. The latter was wholly 



340 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

unapprised of any such movement abroad, as it will be seen in the 
sequel. I will be as brief as possible in the detail of events. 

John McLean was elected the first Representative to Congress 
from Illinois, to serve one session only, that of 1 8 18-19, beating 
Daniel P. Cook, by a small majority. The bill authorizing the 
people of the Missouri Territory to elect Delegates to a Convention, 
for the purpose of forming a Constitution of State government, 
was reported at that session; and during its progress through the 
House of Representatives Mr. Tallmadge, of New York, moved the 
restriction of slavery clause, which, after debate, was carried, and 
the bill was passed and sent to the Senate. In that body the 
slavery restriction was struck out, and the bill so returned to the 
House of Representatives, the discussion on it was renewed. The 
House refusing to concur with the Senate in striking out the 
restriction, the bill fell for the session. Messrs. Edwards and 
Thomas, of the Senate, and Mr. McLean, of the House, comprising 
the Illinois delegation, voted against the restriction in every 
instance. 

Another election was to be held the next August, 18 19. Mr. 
McLean and Mr. Cook were again the candidates. In the Spring 
of that year I established the Edwardsville Spectator, and in the 
first number took strong anti-slavery ground, and in favour of the 
Missouri restriction. I was a stranger to both the candidates, as 
well as both the Senators. Mr. Cook had pledged himself to 
oppose the admission of Missouri without restriction, and of 
course I could not oppose him on political grounds. I soon dis- 
covered that there was no party in the State organized on any 
principle of government, but that two rival interests were pitted 
against each other, under the cognomen of " Edwards-men" and 
"Thomas-men." The evident design of Mr. Coles was, to put 
himself at the head of a third, and supersede both the others. I 
was told that Mr. Cook was a personal friend and partisan of 
Edwards, and that no reliance could be placed upon his anti 
slavery professions. A friend of Mr. Coles was anxious to obtain 
my consent to call a meeting to nominate a new candidate, naming 
a Judge Sprigg for that purpose. I consulted with a friend, George 
Churchill, Esq., known to me as having no personal predilections 
for either of the parties. He said such a movement would assure 



APPENDIX 341 

the re-election of Mr. McLean, and that would be considered as 
an endorsement by the people of his pro-slavery Missouri vote. 
My course was then decided, and thence to the election did all I 
could to the advancement of Mr. Cook. The candidates were 
talented men. They stumped the State — Mr. McLean against 
the Missouri restriction, Mr. Cook in favor of it. The election 
was held, and the returns showed that Mr. Cook was chosen by a 
decisive majority. I continued to make the advocacy of the 
Missouri restriction the principle characteristic of the Spectator, 
till the final termination of the contest. 

Mr. Cook took his seat in the House of Representatives the 
next December, 1819. — The Missouri bill was again reported, 
and the restrictive clause again incorporated with it. After 
debate, in which Mr. Cook took part, the bill passed the House, 
and was sent to the Senate — the same proceeding of striking out, 
and the returning of the bill from House to House, took place, as 
at the previous session. 

The people of Maine, with the consent of Massachusetts, had 
held a Convention, and adopted a State Constitution. Applica- 
tion was made at this session for admission into the Union. The 
bill reported for that purpose was referred to the same committee 
which had the Missouri bill in charge, of which our Senator, Judge 
Thomas, was chairman. Instigated by his colleague, Governor 
Edwards, he tacked the two bills together, and so reported them 
to the Senate; and the two, so united, passed that body. Mr. 
Cook wrote me a letter, denouncing in the most indignant terms, 
this proceeding. I published this letter in the Spectator, omitting 
the signature. On the arrival of the paper at Washington, 
Governor Edwards resented the article, and the friendly personal 
intercourse between him and Mr. Cook was for a time interrupted. 

It was during this winter that the "outside influence," 
mentioned by Mr. Peck, was matured for action. Through the 
medium of leaky vessels, both in Kentucky and Missouri, I was 
duly apprised of the project to make Illinois a slave State, and that 
the first move was to be, the bringing out of Elias Kent Kane, 
then Secretary of State, in opposition to Mr. Cook at the next 
election. I had not heard Mr. Kane's name mentioned in that 
connection by any person in Illinois, but I soon ascertained that 



342 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the whole scheme was known to Mr. Cook and his friends at 
Washington. And in a few weeks I was duly authorized to 
announce Mr. Kane as a candidate for Congress. 

Soon after the adjournment of the session, Governor Edwards 
arrived at his residence in Edwardsville. As soon as it was proper 
to do so, I called upon him to pay my respects, and to ascertain 
how he stood as to the new aspect of the slavery question, as it 
was shortly to be precipitated upon us. From his rupture with 
Mr. Cook, and the fact that he held slaves in Kentucky and Mis- 
souri, I had some misgivings as to his future course, though I was 
well persuaded that under no circumstances would he support Mr. 
Kane. He received me cordially, and with his accustomed frank- 
ness entered into conversation on the leading topics of the times. 
He repeated the assurances he had given me before, that he was 
opposed to permitting the introduction of slavery into territory 
from which it had been excluded; that he opposed its incorporation 
in the constitution of this State, and contributed to its defeat, 
against a strong influence in Its favor. With regard to Mr. Cook, 
he said, he was displeased with him for writing the letter before 
mentioned, because he supposed their personal relations were 
such, that each could differ on public matters without reproach 
or censure from the other. That seeing the new combinations 
for agitating the question of slavery in Illinois, and that the first 
blow was to be struck in an attempt to put down Mr. Cook, he had 
cast aside all hard feelings toward him, and would support his 
re-election. 

I informed him of my intention to make an exposition of the 
plot in the next Spectator. He then said, that it had been inti- 
mated to him at Washington, that an attempt would be made to 
implicate him in the affair, and he had consequently written 
several letters, the answers to which he expected would not only 
exculpate him, but show that he had positively declined to have 
any participation in the matter, and had moreover denounced the 
whole scheme. That my intended exposition might deter his 
correspondents from answering his letters according to their tenor, 
or induce them to evade the application altogether. He therefore 
requested me to postpone the notice a week or two, to which I 
assented. I did not see him again till after the exposition was 



APPENDIX 343 

published, he having left to attend to his affairs at Belleville. On 
the morning of the second publication day after the interview, I 
concluded to wait no longer, and set up the article in type, without 
first writing it, delaying the press for that purpose. In it I stated 
the substance of all the information I had received, of the machina- 
tions of the slavery propagandists abroad, in combination with 
traitors and recreants to freedom at home, to make Illinois a Slave 
State, with such remarks as the subject called forth. In the article 
I also stated that a political missionary, from Kentucky, was then 
in the State. 

As soon as the paper containing the article arrived at Kaskas- 
kia, Mr. Kane issued a furious handbill, charging Governor 
Edwards with having written the article, and denouncing him in 
opprobrious language — Within the same hour of the arrival of the 
handbill, meeting Governor Edwards for the first time after our 
interview before mentioned, he observed as he hurriedly passed 
me — "Stand your ground, Warren, and I will bear you out in it. 
I will answer Kane under my own signature." And he furnished 
an article for the next number of the Spectator, stating that, Mr. 
Kane having charged him with being the writer of certain editorial 
remarks, in that paper of a previous date, making developments of 
preparatory measures for agitating again the slavery question in 
Illinois, instigated by citizens of other States, he begged leave to 
assure the public, that he did not write the article referred to, nor a 
line of it, nor furnish the editor with any thought stated in it. 
He then said if Mr. Kane would call on him, he would exhibit to 
him conclusive evidence and references to show that every material 
allegation stated by me was true, and proceeded to recapitulate 
the facts at large. 

The next day after this publication, Governor Edwards, 
received a letter signed by seven or eight gentlemen of Edwards- 
ville, the most prominent of whom was Edward Coles, in which 
they expressed their astonishment at his endorsement of my 
exposition of the slavery plot, and averring their disbelief of any 
movement, begun or in contemplation, having for its object the 
introduction of slavery into this State. Governor E. wrote a 
reply on the instant, stipulating if their correspondence was to be 
published, to withdraw the present letter, and substitute another 



344 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

more at large and then went on, filling out the sheet. Before 
despatching his reply, he sent it, with the gentlemen's letter, to my 
office, for my perusal. They did not request the publication of 
the correspondence. I was glad for Mr. Coles' sake that they did 
not, for he denied the existence of facts that I could prove by an 
abundance of witnesses that he very well knew did exist. 

A Mr. Watkins, a half-brother of Henry Clay, deeming 
himself to be intended as the political missionary mentioned in my 
exposition, waylaid me with a bludgeon, and came very near taking 
my life. During my disabled condition, my friends instituted 
suits against him. Mr. Coles became his bail, assisted him in 
procuring counsel, and rendered him all the aid and comfort in his 
power. In a few weeks Mr. Coles received a letter of thanks 
from Mr. Clay, for helping his young brother in his difficulty with 
me. 

Mr. Peck will now see the reason why I had no very ardent 
love for Governor Coles. Up to that time I had taken no part 
against him, nor crossed his path in any way. Mr. P. will also see, 
that if he had imparted to Mr. Coles the information he had 
received of the "Outside influence," he might have prevented his 
friend from placing himself in so awkward a predicament as to 
deny its existence, or all knowledge of it. 

Finding that I cannot conclude these reminiscences without 
delaying the issue of the paper beyond the usual hour, I must 
postpone the remarks I have yet to make till next week, when I 
will give a statement of my course in relation to Mr. Coles as a 
candidate for Governor, and notice some of the incidents narrated 
by Mr. Peck in regard to him and the Convention Question. 

H. Warren. 



Replication by Warren, May lo, 1855 
[Free West, May 10, 1855] 

The Congressional election of 1820 was warmly contested by 
the parties. Mr. Cook received a larger majority over Mr. Kane, 
than he obtained against Mr. McLean at the previous election. 
The slavery propagandists, both in and out of the State, were 
extremely mortified at the result, as they had put up their best 



APPENDIX 345 

man, with the expectation that his great talents and popularity- 
would enable them to supersede the incumbent, who stood so 
much in their way. 

The times were comparatively quiet for the next succeeding 
twelve or fifteen months. The Missouri Question absorbed all 
agitation on the subject of slavery, while other topics of public 
concern excited but little interest. The Legislature chosen at 
this election, enacted the first State Bank law, which instead of 
facilitating the business operations of the community, caused more 
embarrassment, and finally resulted in the loss of hundreds of 
thousands of dollars to the State. Mr. Coles, in the meantime, was 
announced as a candidate for the office of Governor, to succeed 
Governor Bond, he being the first in the field for the canvass of 
1822, Judges Joseph Phillips and Thomas C. Browne, and 
General James B. Moore, were subsequently announced for the 
same office. Mr. Kane was not disposed to try his strength a 
second time with Mr. Cook, and he gave away to Mr. McLean, 
who appeared again as the opponent of Mr. C. in the Congressional 
canvass. 

From the disingenuousness of Mr. Coles' conduct towards me, 
he could have no reason to believe he could receive the support of 
the Edwardsville Spectator, unless it was upon his assumed anti- 
slavery ground. I was an admirer of Judge Phillips, for his great 
talents and the urbanity of his manners. But he was avowedly 
pro-slavery, and the candidate of the party. General Moore was 
not prominent in the canvass, and finally received but some five 
hundred of the votes of his neighbors and old territorial friends. 
With Judge Browne I did not become acquainted until he made 
his appearance upon the rounds; but from the first, considering 
the position of the several candidates, I was convinced that the 
latter only could receive my support, consistently with self-respect, 
or from principle. 

I did not think it necessary or advisable to show any serious 
opposition to Mr. Coles, and therefore adopted the burlesque, or 
what has since been known as the "Major Jack Downing" style 
and I succeeded in that kind of composition far beyond my expec- 
tation. A portion of my friends, who supported Mr. Coles, 
remonstrated with me against it; others liked the fun, and between 



346 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the two I followed my own inclination. I was afterwards informed 
by third persons, that Governor Edwards and Mr. Cook had 
been severally applied to, for the purpose of inducing them to use 
their supposed influence over me to dissuade me in my career with 
regard to Mr. Coles, but that both, without expressing any 
approbation of my course in that respect, declined to interfere. 
Mr. Cook, while absent, informed me by letter that he had fallen 
in with Mr. Coles on the way, and that the latter was very anxious 
to run with him. He repeated the same personally upon arriving 
at home, but he intimated nothing to me as to his wish or intention 
regarding the proposition. Mr. Cook was a small man, and I had 
no apprehension of his taking another, of the weight of Mr. Coles, 
upon his shoulders. 

In the spring of 1822, four months before the election. Judge 
Pope came up to Edwardsville from Kaskaskia; and, calling upon 
me, he remarked with much earnestness, "If you do not want 
Phillips elected, you must let Coles alone." And he went on to 
demonstrate that such was the fact. This information alarmed 
me, and I held up. I had supposed that every vote I could take 
from Coles would go to Browne or Moore. But the Judge showed 
conclusively that the prospect of Phillips was rising rapidly, and 
that of Coles as fast declining. The friends of the latter were 
desponding, while those of the former were elated with new 
hopes. 

All personal considerations aside, I preferred Coles to Phillips, 
and my chief concern now was, how properly to adjust the balance 
between them, so that the former should not kick the beam. I 
said nothing in his favor, but his friends seeing I had ceased to 
annoy him by attempts at irony and satire, took new courage, and 
rallied to his support. 

Mr. Coles caused to be inserted in the Illinois Intelligencer, 
published at Vandalia, a letter from Mr. Jefferson to him, on the 
subject of slavery, in which he excused himself from undertaking 
to act against it, on account of his great age, but advised his corre- 
spondent to enter the councils of his country, and carry out his 
principles. I copied this letter into the Spectator, without request 
from any one, and without comment. Extracts from the same 
letter of Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Coles has [sic] since been published 



i 



APPENDIX 347 

in several anti-slavery books, containing extracts from the writ- 
ings of anti-slavery authors. Soon after, another article appeared 
in the Vandalia paper, under the signature of Mr. Coles, giving an 
account of the emancipation of his slaves. This I copied into the 
Spectator, also without request or comment. I will here remark, 
that this letter of Mr. Coles was wholly eradicated from my 
memory, until brought again to recollection by Mr. Peck, in the 
second number of his communications. I mention this fact in 
extenuation of the doubt I expressed in the Free West of the 21st 
of last December, of Mr. Coles having settled his slaves on farms. 

The first Monday in August came, and the election was held. 
It proved a pretty even race between the three highest candidates, 
Mr. Coles coming out a little ahead. Half gratified and half 
chagrined, I indulged in some editorial remarks on the result of 
the election; and, in reference to Mr. Coles, observed that when- 
ever the President wished to get rid of a useless lackey, he could 
send him out to Illinois, and the people would make a Governor of 
him. This enabled my enemies to raise a prodigious excitement 
against me, by representing that I was rebelling against the 
decision of the people. But it did not last long. 

Governor Coles did not so far fall out with me as to withdraw 
his subscription to my paper, until after his inauguration; he then 
did so, and to explain which, I must refer to two prior incidents. 

I. Mr. Coles, in his narratives of events at the President's 
House, before mentioned, greatly magnified the importance of his 
office as Private Secretary, and seemed to think it second only 
too [sic] the Presidency itself. In allusions to him during the 
canvass, I had represented him, although not invidiously, as a sort 
of upper servant in the Presidential mansion. 

1. A family resided near my office in Edwardsville, the 
mistress of which kept a little negro boy as waiter. Frequently 
during the day, the mistress would call out "Jo!" The boy, in 
the street or yard, as quick as lightning, would answer, "Coming 
Madam." The remarkable readiness of the boy in making his 
response, elicited the observation of the neighbors. 

An account of the inauguration of the Governor was duly 
published in the Illinois Intelligencer, in which the editors used 
the terms, "His Excellency," His Excellency Governor Coles," etc. 



348 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The next week the Governor wrote a letter to the editors of 
the Intelligencer, requesting them in no case to say "His Excel- 
lency," in reference to him, for he considered the simple appella- 
tive, "Governor," a sufficient honor. 

I copied this letter into the Spectator, and appended to it 
an editorial remark, as near as I can recollect, as follows: 

We regret, exceedingly, that our new Governor should 
manifest so much fastidiousness in regard to the receiving of the 
honors of the station; and can account for it in no other way than 
by the supposition, that the phrase, "His Excellency," applied to 
himself, seems so very odd, in contrast with his former position 
in Mr. Madison's family. But time and practice will soon make 
it as familiar to his ear, as the response of "Coming Madam" was 
then to his tongue. 

This touched the Governor in a tender place, and as soon as 
the return of the mail from Vandalia, a friend of his in Edwards- 
ville called upon me, and paying up arrears, informed me that 
Governor C. wished to discontinue his subscription. 

During this session the Convention resolution was passed by 
the Legislature, the extraordinary measures adopted to effect 
which have often been published, and with which the reader is 
familiar. 

At the close of the session Governor Coles left for Vandalia 
for his 'home in Virginia,' without returning to Edwardsville, and 
was absent several months. The discussions on the Convention 
question, in the mean time, became exciting. The Hon. T. W. 
Smith established a paper at Edwardsville, called the "Illinois 
Republican," purposely to sustain the affirmative of that question, 
and to counteract the Spectator. In the course of the discussions 
it became my duty to defend some of the measures of Governor 
Coles, against the attacks of Mr. Smith. The latter, thereupon, 
seemed to be astonished at the "reconciliation," and said some- 
thing about "Pilate and Herod." In reply I stated that I had 
not seen Governor Coles since the passage of the Convention 
resolution by the Legislature, nor held any correspondence with 
him; that he was not a subscriber to my paper; and that there 
was nothing in our relations to prevent our co-operation in any 
public measure in which we were both agreed. 



APPENDIX 349 

The Governor returned from Virginia in June or July. Shortly- 
after, his friend, the same who was employed the fall previous 
to withdraw his subscription, called upon me and renewed it. 

Governor Coles visited Virginia again the next winter. On 
his return, in May or June, or soon after, " the boxes of pamphlets 
or tracts," mentioned by Mr. Peck, were found distributed all over 
the State, and as the election was to take place in about two months 
their appearance was most propitious, and showed that the Gover- 
nor had not been idle during his absence. I had not the shadow 
of a doubt concerning their origin. One thing about them I knew 
to a certainty — they were not printed in Illinois. One of those 
pamphlets, it was clear to my mind, was written by Mr. Jefferson, 
and contained a conclusive argument against the policy of slavery 
propagandism. 

Mr. Peck's version of the story of the emancipation, by 
Governor Coles, of his slaves, does not reflect so much credit upon 
that gentleman for philanthropy, as I supposed him entitled to. 
It seems, after all, that he did not let the old women go free, but 
that they were compelled to die under the reflection that they were 
"chattels". — The "last words and dying speech of a slave-holder," 
on board the flat boats near New Albany, were therefore premature. 
It appears, also, that he sent a part of his negroes to St. Louis, 
with only a prospective freedom. His brother. Col. Isaac A. 
Coles, of Virginia, who was the Private Secretary of Mr. Jefferson 
during his Presidency, (and who, by the way, is the most accom- 
plished gentleman, in manners and conversation, I ever met,) had 
a plantation with slaves, near St. Charles, Missouri. He visited 
this establishment three or four times a year, and always stopped 
a few days with his brother in Edwardsville. As they were 
originally of one family in Virginia, it is not improbable that the 
negroes sent by Governor Coles to St. Louis, were re-annexed to 
those on the St. Charles plantation. 

Near the close of Mr. Peck's second article, he refers to the 
moral and political character of Governor Coles' revilers and 
persecutors, and says "they are gone! — with thousands of others 
who destroyed themselves by whiskey and rowdyism." He does 
not name them, probably out of tender regard to the feelings of 
their surviving friends and families. On reading this paragraph. 



350 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

I was struck with the remarkable fact — singular, considering our 
relations with each other — that the revilers and persecutors of 
Governor Coles, were also my enemies; and the gloom of melan- 
choly passes over me when I think of their end. One of them, as 
a compensation for service in a bad cause, having obtained a high 
judicial office, could not enjoy it in peace, but after occupying it 
for years in turmoil, was compelled to resign, and retire to private 
life. Another was appointed by President Jackson to a foreign 
mission, and died on his way, among strangers, in a foreign land. 
Another, whose "rowdyism" was not endurable, even in Illinois, 
after occupying the highest judicial station in this State, went to 
Missouri, became the Chief Magistrate of that Commonwealth, 
and there committed suicide while filling the Executive office. 
Another — but I will not proceed with the catalogue. 

In the same paragraph Mr. Peck speaks of the present wealth of 
Governor Coles, in Philadelphia. In canvassing for the office 
of Governor of this State, he assumed the ground before the people, 
that he had made himself poor by emancipating his slaves. After 
making all he could in Illinois, and despairing of further prefei- 
ment, he deemed it expedient to seek his fortune elsewhere. 
Another Illinois statesman followed or set the same example. 
But while Judge Douglas went to North Carolina, and by an 
ingenious speculation, acquired hundreds of blackies, the Ex- 
Governor, it is said, if not with more judgement, certainly with 
better taste, went to Philadelphia, and by a like operation, 
obtained possession of thousands on thousands of "yellow boys." 

But it is time for me to close these reminiscences, having 
already, doubtless, gone beyond the patience of the reader, though 
I have not said half to which my inclination would lead. I will 
observe that I entertain no animosity towards Governor Coles; 
on the contrary, I wish him all the happiness the world is capable 
of affording. Notwithstanding all our differences during an 
acquaintance of ten or twelve years, the first six of which were as 
neighbors, he never met me nor passed me without giving his hand, 
which shows him not to be vindictive. 

For Mr. Peck, I entertain a grateful recollection, for personal 
favors, and his early course in favor of liberty and right. But he 
ought to know and consider, that his flings at abolitionists show 



APPENDIX 351 

him to be behind the times as a reformer. He even confesses 
repudiation of former principles, in the change of his views, from 
the side of freedom to slavery, on the Missouri question. 

H. Warren. 



Peck to Editors of Free West, May 25, 1855 

[Free West, June 21, 1855] 

Messrs. Editors: — Supposing from the intimation from H. 
Warren, Esq., given in a private letter of the 3rd of April, that he 
is now absent from Chicago, I send the following extract of a 
letter from Hon. Edward Coles, formerly Governor of Illinois, 
in reference to the mistakes made in Mr. Warren's article of 
December 21st, 1854. As a personal friend to the Ex-Governor, 
I deem it my duty to place this unexpected controversy in its true 
light before the people of Illinois. The Governor's letter to me 
dated Philadelphia, April 30th, and relates to the editorial in the 
"Free West," of December 21st. I think it is a sufficient answer 
to Mr. Warren's "Reminiscences" in his responses to my com- 
munications, already published in the "Free West" of May 3rd 
and loth — indeed I was quite surprised at the reasons of his 
antipathy and personal hostility to Governor C. at the period 
of the anti-slavery contest of i823-'24, and I regret with his old 
friends in this part of the State, that these feelings remain and 
appear to become intense as time advances. The existence of 
this personal hostility was a matter of regret to his friends at the 
time, but it was thought at that period, none knew the cause, and 
it has remained a secret until his remininscences of May 3rd, in 
commenting on my communications. The cause of this hostility 
was four-fold. 

I. The Virginian had inveterate prejudices against "Yan- 
kees." 

1. He was loquacious, and talked about President Madison 
and his tour in Europe. 

3. In politics, the south was all to him; the Richmond 
Enquirer was his oracle; (that is, he was a Jeffersonian Democrat, 
though decidedly anti-slavery from his youth.) 

4. He gave bail for Mr. Watkins who had inflicted a casti- 



352 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

gation on the Editor of the Spectator, for an offensive editorial; 
and the late Henry Clay, a relative [of the] offender, wrote Mr. 
Coles a letter of thanks for his kindness. 

All I will say in relation to the "inveterate prejudices" Mr. 
W. retains against Gov. C, after more than thirty years have 
passed, is, they are regretted by his old friends in Southern Illinois, 
and by none more than the writer. 

The insinuations and charges against me as having changed 
my position on the subject of Slavery, demand no other reply than 
that a man must be peculiarly stiff-necked, who can learn nothing 
in the period of an ordinary life time; — and that the change in 
ihe main position on this question is in the former Editor of the 
Spectator, and not in his old friends this way. He then, as the 
writer does now, maintained that the people of South Carolina, 
Virginia, Kentucky, or any other slave-holding State, had no 
political right to interfere, directly or indirectly, with the question 
in Illinois. That the Editor occupied this position in the Edwards- 
ville Spectator, there is abundant proof in the columns of that 
paper, during the contest; and he tacitly admits it in his late 
"Reminiscences." I occupy the same position on this subject 
still, whereas the present abolition party of the north, and probably 
the three gentlemen, the only remaining adherents of the associate 
Editor that fought the battle in 1824, have with him changed 
position. 

There are now but a few of the anti-slavery men of that 
period still living, and I am not aware of any others than the three 
mentioned, who differ with the writer on that subject, or, any 
other concerning slavery, that grows out of the legal and judicial 
construction of the Constitution of the United States. I will 
only add, I shall have no occasion for further controversy on this 
topic with the "Associate Editor," of the Free West. 

J. M. Peck, 
Rock Spring, 111. May 25, 1855. 
Copy of Gov. Coles' Letter to J. M. Pecky dated Philadelphia^ April 

30th, 1855. 

"My Dear Friend: — Your kind letter of the 29th ult., and 
the Chicago Newspaper (Free West) dated the 21st December 
last, were duly received. 



APPENDIX 353 

"If the error alluded to by Mr. Warren, in Ford's History of 
Illinois, would, as he supposed, excite me, how much more so are 
his own errors calculated to do it. Mr. Ford's error was one that 
a rational man would be apt to fall into, who knew the public 
stations, and the part taken by Mr. Warren and myself; and who 
did not know the rabid feelings of his bosom. As co-laborers in 
[a] great political contest, which absorbed all others, and enlisted 
our best feelings, it was natural to suppose that private and personal 
bickerings would have been merged and supplanted by fraternal 
feelings. Not so, however, with Mr. Warren, who, without 
cause, (For I know of nothing I ever did to injure him, or even hurt 
his feelings) became inimical to me, that mutual labors, and com- 
mon success in a noble cause, which like charity, ought to have 
covered a multitude of sins, — and as it now appears, no length of 
time, or ripeness of age can abate his hostility. Such an instance 
of the frailty of human nature is truly melancholy and much 
better calculated to make me mourn, than Mr. Ford's little 
mistake was to make me "laugh or swear," as Mr. Warren sup- 
posed it would. 

"No one who has a knowledge of the subject, can be otherwise 
than amazed at the mistakes Mr. Warren makes in attempting to 
correct those of Mr. Ford. So extraordinary are they that the 
most charitable way of accounting for them is to suppose the 
acidity of his heart had corroded his brain and impaired his 
memory. Mr. Warren in extenuation of some of Mr. Ford's 
errors, says they related to things which occured before he was in 
active life. But no such excuse can be made for Mr. W., as the 
statements he makes, relate to facts and circumstances which 
occured in the little village in which he published a newspaper, 
and where he was an active citizen. Moreover they relate to 
things of which he professes to be personally and particularly 
acquainted, and were of a character, too to make impressions most 
easily effaced. 

"The settling in and near a small village of a number of free 
negroes, and several of whom acted as domestics, and one (Robert 
Crawford, who you know) being an officiating clergyman; another 
(Thomas Cobb) having been killed by accidentally falling into the 
public well of the village, were circumstances to bring them to 



354 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

notice, and retain them in recollection. Yet Mr. Warren seems 
to have no recollection that there were any men among them, nor 
recollects of there being more than one family, which he says 
consisted of a woman and five children — four daughters and one 
son; — and even this scanty remnant of memory is erroneous, for I 
freed no such family, — none consisting of four daughters and one 
son, — nor where there was not a man at its head, as can be seen by 
referring to the papers of emancipation on record in the Recorder's 
office in Edwardsville. 

"The family I presume he alludes to, from his saying the 
woman cooked for the hired men at my farm, had two daughters 
and two sons. Perhaps I ought to add as a possible mode of 
explaining this error, that there were among my negroes two 
other young women, who went into service, and may have acted 
as Mr. Warren says in that capacity, but they were not sisters, nor 
daughters of the woman that cooked at my farm. 

"The men mentioned by Mr. Warren as having been hired 
at my farm were emancipated by me; one of whom was the hus- 
band of the cook, after whose death she married another of my 
freed men, and lived for many years in Montgomery county, 
Illinois — I mention these and other similar facts to show that 
though Mr. Warren is so minute and particular in his details, he 
is not as accurate in his knowledge of the subject as he would 
lead one to believe, and might be inferred from his statements. 

"As a further proof of it, the Recorder's office will also show 
that Mr. Warren is mistaken in stating that I executed deeds of 
emancipation to each person. The deeds were not so executed, 
but where there were families they were given to families. And 
here let me ask, is it not very curious that he should have taken 
the pains to examine the free papers to learn their dates, and by 
whom witnessed even, and yet not learn their form, and the num- 
ber and character of the slaves emancipated? And is it not also a 
very extraordinary circumstance that he should have taken an 
interest and make publications about my freeing my slaves, and 
yet not have gone to the fountain head in the village in which he 
for years resided, for full and authentic information, as well about 
the deeds of emancipation, as of conveyance of land to my negroes; 
— which deeds he knew by law should be recorded? If he had 



APPENDIX 355 

done so, he would at once have seen the number and character 
of the negroes I emancipated, who resided in and near Edwards- 
ville; and however incredulous to believe it, the records would 
have convinced him that I had given to three of the men I eman- 
cipated, who resided in the county, one hundred and sixty acres 
of land each. And it would have given him very little more 
trouble, as he was in the habit of going to St. Louis, if he had looked 
into the Recorder's office there, and seen the free papers of the 
negroes of mine who settled in that city. 

"I will notice another instance of the lapse of memory, and of 
unkind conduct on the part of Mr. Warren. There was published 
in 1822, (and you write me it was republished in the "Spectator," 
edited by Mr. Warren) a letter of mine giving many particulars 
about freeing my slaves, which were not then controverted by 
him, the truth or knowledge of which he now denies. 

"When you consider he was then openly hostile, seeking 
every occasion to traduce and injure me; that the accuracy of 
my statements could be confronted and tested by living witnesses, 
and recollect that one third of a century has now passed off, and 
with it, nearly all who had knowledge of the subject; I removed at 
a distance, and out of the way of knowing of his attack; — living a 
retired and quiet life, — that he should make a publication attack- 
ing my motives and misrepresenting my conduct, and not send 
it to me, — is indeed conduct that I did not expect, even from Mr. 
Warren. He even insinuates, which never was, I believe done 
before, that the emancipation of my slaves was not designed, but 
was brought about by my ignorance in not knowing that by taking 
them to a free State they became free, and when I found they had 
become so, I made for effect, a vain display of freeing them [See 
Mr. Warren's editorial in the Free West of December 21st.] Now 
so far from there being any truth in this, and of my ignorance of 
the effect of bringing slaves and settling them in a free State, it 
was the mode I intended to take to free mine, and acted on it as 
the simplest and easiest mode, until I was informed by D. P. 
Cook, Esq., that a law had passed the preceding session of the 
Legislature, not then published, requirkig every free negro to have 
written evidence of his freedom, and subjecting to fine persons 
who should hire those who had not such evidence of their freedom. 



356 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

In consequence of this and the advice of Mr. Cook, I was induced 
to give my negroes free papers. And I will add a further conse- 
quence of not knowing and conforming to all the requisites of this 
unpromulgated law, was afterwards formed the basis of a suit 
(the only time I was ever sued,) and a prosecution with which I 
was persecuted for years." 

P. S. [The Governor was prosecuted, under a law of the 
state that had not been made public, when he had recorded the 
deeds of the emancipation of his slaves, for not giving security for 
their good behavior and that they might not become a charge 
on the county; and the Judge of the lower court being a prejudiced 
enemy, imposed an onerous fine. It was reversed in the supreme 
court, after a long series of litigation and cost. The prosecution 
was regarded by all impartial persons as malicious, and the effect 
recoiled on his enemies. 

J. M. P. 

Replication by Warren, June 29, 1855 

[Free fFest, July 5, 1855] 

It is with extreme regret I perceive that Mr. Peck takes 
offense at the comments I felt myself bound to make upon his 
late series of communications in the Free West. They appear 
to have been "unexpected" to him; but from his knowledge of me, 
he had no good reason to hope I would pass the subject by in 
silence, though the topics of discussion had in them but little to 
interest the reader of the present day. 

Upon the appearance of Governor Ford's History of Illinois, 
I found myself included in the catalogue of names who took a 
prominent part on the side of Freedom, in the great and desperate 
struggle waged by slavery propagandists to introduce their hateful 
institution into Illinois — a position I was proud of having occupied. 
But there were errors in that list on both sides, of those in favor 
and against the calling of a Convention to admit slavery. For 
instance, Governor Edwards was put down as among those in 
favor of the proposition, and Mr. Eddy, the editor of a paper at 
Shawneetown which favored the cause of the conventionists, as 
against it. The reverse was the fact. The organization of the 



APPENDIX 357 

press, too, was erroneously stated and needed correction, which I 
made in a brief notice of the book. In that review, with a strict 
adherence to truth, it was impossible for me not to cross the track 
of Governor Coles; and the circumstance that a third of a century- 
has elapsed since the events occurred, does not alter the facts of 
the case. As to antipathy and personal hostility, I have already 
stated in reply to Mr. Peck, that upon the announcement of 
Mr. Coles as a candidate for the office of Governor, at the election 
of 1822, I deemed it neither necessary nor expedient to show any 
serious opposition to him, but adopted the mode of touching him 
by attempts at good natured irony and satire — a manner of attack 
to which he was extremely obnoxious. As to such feelings towards 
him, if I ever indulged them, I entertain none of them now. 
Should he again visit this State, I would not hesitate to join in the 
tender to him of such public honors as would be due to a former 
Chief Magistrate, after an absence of more than twenty years. 
Even if his protege, Mr. Watkins, who essayed to murder me, 
should come again to the State, and offer me his hand, I would 
not refuse to take it. The lapse of time in matters of history does 
not require me to suppress the truth, or to refrain from vindicating 
it, so far as the subject is familiar to me. 

My failure to support Mr. Coles as a candidate for Governor, 
it is true, was a matter of regret to some of my anti-slavery friends; 
but they did not attach blame to me. They knew I could not 
support him with a due regard to self respect. Mr. Peck himself 
did not see fit to remonstrate with me in behalf of his friend. 

The numerical statement by Mr. P., of the causes of my 
presumed opposition to Mr. Coles as a candidate, does not partake 
of the candor or sincerity which should ever characterize the aver- 
ments of a disciple and minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. I 
supposed at the time I had his sympathy in the brutal attack 
made upon my life by Watkins; but by his terming it a "castiga- 
tion," which according to Webster means "correction," it would 
seem that the act now meets his approval. 

In my remarks in reply to Mr. Peck's articles in the Free 
West, it was my desire not to trespass too much upon the patience 
of its readers, on the subject personal to myself and others; and 
having given so much space to Governor Coles, I was induced to 



358 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

forego what I wished to say in regard to most of the positions 
assumed in Mr. P.'s narrative. I was disposed to let his state- 
ments go for what they were worth, notwithstanding some of 
them indicated that his organ of memory was as defective as mine. 
He had the advantage of me, by having in his possession a complete 
file of the Edwardsville Spectator, lately presented to him 
by Governor Coles, as he has informed me in a private letter 
accompanying his communications. By this it appears that, 
notwithstanding "His Excellency," to punish me in regard to the 
"Coming Madam" affair, discontinued his subscription, and did 
not renew it until after six months had elapsed, he took good care to 
provide that his file should not be broken. I will here remark, 
that I lost my file of that paper in moving from Edwardsville in 
1825, and that all I have ever said or written in reference to the 
events of those times, has proceeded wholly from memory, without 
print or scrip to refer to. The only file of the Spectator extant, 
that I was previously aware of, was in the the hands of the Hon. 
George Churchill, of Madison County, who designs it, upon his 
decease, as a legacy to the Illinois Antiquarian Society at Alton. 
I was correct in stating the residence of the late Governor 
Ford during the pendency of the Convention question. Mr. Peck 
gives it a different location, wherein his memory is at fault. Hav- 
ing possession of the files, he was enabled to discover an error of a 
month and a half in my statement of the time at which Mr. David 
Blackwell got possession of the Vandalia newspaper establishment 
— making it three months instead of six weeks before the election. 
There is a discrepancy in his statement of the time of the concep- 
tion and the accomplishment of that grand and mysterious project. 
In my statement of the affair, I said that I knew not the means by 
which the change was effected. Mr. Peck in his eagerness to 
enlighten me, mentions the agent, which I already knew, but not 
the means. I supposed that William H. Brown, Esq., now of 
Chicago, was in the establishment at the time; but in a momentary 
conversation with that gentleman, lately, he informed me that 
Robert Blackwell, the former partner of Mr. Berry, had retaken 
his place in the concern. In answer to my inquiry as to the time 
of these occurances, and how it was that the Legislature compelled 
him to withdraw from the establishment, as stated by Mr. Peck, 



APPENDIX 359 

he said he could not .bring his memory to bear as to dates, but all 
the Legislature ever did against him, was to rescind a contract for 
public printing. The "means," therefore, of ousting Mr. Berry, 
and the letting in of David Blackwell, the brother of Robert, was 
doubtless a part of the "four years' salary" of Governor Coles. 
The possession of the Vandalia press was a master stroke of policy 
on his part, and he deserves credit for it. But as Mr. Peck states 
that his design was formed simultaneously with the passage of the 
Convention resolution, he was but a few days less than fifteen 
months in making the achievement, and not until the battle, as it 
were, had been fought and won, the greatest importance resulting 
from it was in making assurance doubly sure. 

This is a part of the secret history of the Convention contest 
which Mr. Peck professes to give. Another was the origin of the 
anti-slavery pamphlets and tracts scattered over the State before 
the election. In my replication I showed that there was not so 
much wonderment about it at the time, as he seems to suppose 
prevailed. But that part of his narrative of the events which he 
says were "known to but few," and which ludicrously shows his 
lack of memory, is that in which he divulges the "outside influence" 
— in other words, the forming of combinations among slave- 
breeders in the slaveholding States, to raise the question of intro- 
ducing slavery into Illinois. It was my exposition of that project, 
more than two years before the passage of the Convention resolu- 
tion, that first brought me into collision with Mr. Coles. If Mr. 
Peck was in possession of the facts, as he says he was, he should 
have made them known to Mr. C, and thereby saved his friend 
from placing himself in an awkward dilemma. The week or two 
previously, a rumor was current in the town that a project was on 
foot to raise the question of calling a Convention to admit slavery 
into the State. 

The enemies of Governor Edwards were in strong hopes of 
identifying him with the scheme. Mr. Coles was uproarous 
about it, and declared he would spend all he was worth to prevent 
it. But no sooner did my exposition appear, in which it was shown 
that the nomination of Mr. Kane for Congress, in opposition to 
Mr. Cook, was a part of the plot, and his election first to be tried, 
than his tone was changed. Mr. Coles and his followers denounced 



360 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

me as a calumniator, and denied the existence of any intention or 
movement, in the State or out of it, having for its object the intro- 
duction of slavery into Illinois. Governor Edwards having en- 
dorsed my statement, in his reply to the outrageous attack of Mr. 
Kane upon him, they, (Mr. Coles and five or six other gentlemen 
of Edwardsville,) addressed him a letter denying the statements, 
and calling upon him for proof. This he put them in the way of 
finding, and challenged them to consent to have their correspond- 
ence published. This they prudently declined, and thereby 
saved themselves from a public exposure. 

Mr. Peck complains that in my replication I evaded the " main 
point," and he thinks by my silence I tacitly admitted his proposi- 
tion. His "main point" appears to be, that the people of one 
State have not the right to interfere with those of another in the 
matter of slavery, or that each State has the right in itself to 
introduce or exclude slavery. I have not the Free West before me, 
containing my replication, but if I recollect rightly, I stated that no 
anti-slavery party that adopted the policy of political action, had 
ever claimed the right to interfere with slavery in the States. 
This is a different question from that of admitting a Territory as a 
slaveholding State into the Union. I do not, however, admit 
the right of a State, or of an individual to do wrong — to perpetrate 
"the greatest villany under the sun." Mr. Peck has yet to learn 
the A B C of anti-slavery, I supposed he once knew it; but if so, 
he has forgotten it all, and must be turned back. He shows him- 
self to be twenty years behind the times on that subject. 

It appears by Governor Coles' letter to Mr. Peck, published 
in the last Free West, that his feelings are very much hurt at my 
remarks concerning him, in the editorial notice of Governor Ford's 
book on the 21st of December. I suppressed the only paragraph 
in that article with which I supposed he could justly take offense, 
after it was in type. The purport of it was, that from my thorough 
knowledge of him at the onset, I had no confidence whatever in his 
professions of opposition to slavery; and his subsequent life has 
fully confirmed me in that opinion. He has had ample opportunity 
to prove his faith by works; but instead of doing so, he has opposed 
those whose works have proved their principles. — Emancipation is 
not abolition. If all the slaves in the States were emancipated 



APPENDIX 361 

today, slavery would not be abolished, but might and would be 
continued, without special legislation against the obtaining of 
new supplies by kidnapping or illicit importation. One vote of 
Governor Coles in opposition to slavery itself, would have more 
influence in abolishing the system, than the emancipation of his 
slaves ten times over. 

Contrary to my expectation. Governor Coles seems not at all 
displeased that Judge Ford, in his History, should place him, the 
Chief Magistrate of the State, under me, as contributor to the 
paper of which I was the editor and proprietor. Well, if he is 
content, I surely should be; for it would not become me, lately, to 
disparage the station of sub-editor, or to assign to its incumbent 
inferiority. The wonder is that a proud Virginian should not 
do so. 

In my answer to Mr. Peck I acknowledged myself corrected 
by him, in regard to the doubt I expressed as to Mr. Coles' settling 
his negroes on farms. My idea of a farm was, a piece of land 
enclosed, with a house, barn and orchard on it, with fields of 
Oats, peas, beans and barley. 
And where corn and cabbage grow. 
Such were scarce in Illinois at that time; but Mr, Coles did as 
well, or perhaps better, by giving them the material for making 
farms; and this he could do without any great drain upon his 
pocket, as almost any quantity of patented land could then be 
purchased for a trifle, say from ten to twenty dollars per quarter 
section, in the Military Tract, all the deeds for which were then 
required to be recorded at the Recorder's ofiice in Edwardsville, 
to which Governor Coles refers me. On other lands in the county 
and district, only one-fourth of the purchase money had been paid 
to the government, upon entry at the Land Office. I did not take 
interest enough in his aff"airs, to go to the Recorder's office to see 
to whom he had conveyed land; nor should I have thought of 
going there to find the record of "free papers," nor the disposition 
to do so if I had. 

While Mr. Coles and myself boarded together at Wiggins' 
hotel, there were three colored girls in the kitchen and house, who, 
as I understood, were of those brought to the State by him. Two 
of these were afterwards servants in my family. An elderly 



362 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

colored lady, who I understood to be the mother of the girls in the 
kitchen, occasionally visited the hotel. She resided on Mr. Coles' 
farm, as cook for the men. She had with her two younger children, 
a boy and girl, 7nulattoes. These were all the colored people of 
whom I have any personal knowledge, as having belonged to Mr. 
Coles; and if there were others, I have wholly lost all recollection 
of them. They were sometimes incidentally the subject of conver- 
sation between Mr. Coles and myself, at his instance — for my 
curiosity never led me to make inquiries about them. I have no 
recollection of the two men he mentions, the Rev. Robert Craw- 
ford, and Thomas Cobb. I knew a colored man in the town, 
called Robert, but I never heard of his preaching, or of his being 
one of Mr. Coles' freed men; nor have I any recollection of a man 
being killed by falling into the public well. I am not conversant 
with the form of a deed of emancipation; but I supposed each 
person set free must be named, to make it valid, even if a whole 
family were included in a single instrument. 

Governor Coles proceeds to say that, at the time I republished 
his letter in 1822, giving an account of the emancipation of his 
slaves, I "was openly hostile, seeking every occasion to traduce 
and injure him," This is notoriously untrue, as the files of the 
Spectator will abundantly show; and in this respect he is as cul- 
pable for not examining the matter, as he would hold me for not 
going to the Recorder's office to ascertain the number of negroes 
emancipated by him. At that very time, and by the act of 
copying that letter I was holding him up, as with a long pole — 
trying to keep him afloat on the surface. I have stated in the 
"Reminiscences" that Judge Pope came all the way from Kaskas- 
kia, to apprise me of the progress of the canvass in his section of 
the State, and earnestly advised me, that, if I did not want Phillips 
elected I must let Coles alone; and he convinced me that such 
was the state of the case. As the election of the former would be 
considered as a triumph of the slave part[y], I came to a pause, 
and gave Mr. Coles a chance to recruit his strength, which had 
run very low; and to raise him to a level with Phillips, or above 
him, I copied, without request or comment, from the Illinois 
Intelligencer, two articles which he had communicated to that 
paper — one a letter from Mr. Jefferson to him; the other the 



APPENDIX 363 

article above mentioned. By this means he gained slowly until 
the election, when he came out with a plurality of forty-four votes 
over Phillips. So, Governor Coles owed his election to the call of 
Judge Pope upon me, in his behalf — a man who did not care any 
more for him than I did. 

I have not charged Mr. Coles with bad motives in emancipat- 
ing his slaves, or in calling upon Methodist ministers, who resided 
out of town, to witness the deeds. As a political aspirant, he had 
a perfect right, and it was a mark of his shrewdness, to make all 
the capital he could out of the performance of a praiseworthy act. 

Governor Coles avers that he was aware of the fact, that the 
bringing of his slaves into this State, unqualifiedly and absolutely 
set them free. Why, then, did he go through the farce of formally 
emancipating them, at Edwardsville, on the then next ensuing 
fourth of July? He would explain it by saying that Mr. Cook 
advised him that his negroes should have free papers, to save 
them from being taken up under one of the black laws, which was 
then as well as now, generally regarded as a dead letter. A 
certificate that the negroes were formerly slaves in Virginia, and 
came to this State with the consent of their master, would have 
been sufficient. But I do not believe Mr. Cook designed to set a 
trap for Mr. Coles, by inducing him to put his violation of the 
black code upon record, and thereby furnish evidence for a prose- 
cution against himself. 

In that prosecution Governor Coles had all my sympathy. 
It was instituted by the Commissioners of Madison county, whose 
attention had been called to the subject in an anonymous publica- 
tion, written by the late Judge Smith. It was to recover the 
penalty, which inured to the county, for emancipating his slaves 
in the State, without giving bond and surety against their becom- 
ing a county charge. Mr. Peck's memory also fails him in this 
matter. The "onerous" penalty was prescribed by law, not 
imposed by the "prejudiced judge," (McRoberts,) and reversed by 
the Supreme Court. The penalty was remitted by a special act 
of the Legislature. My own recollection is not clear about it — but 
if the case was previously before the Supreme Court, the first trial 
in the Circuit Court must have been before Judge John Reynolds, 
(Mr. Peck's present hospitable friend,) and the decision must 



364 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

have been confirmed on appeal, and the cause remanded to the 
Court below for the rendering of Judgement. And this was | 
precisely the phase of the case, as it was before Judge McRoberts 
at the Spring term, 1825, being the first under the operation of the 
new organization of the Judiciary, There was no action before 
the Court at this term but the question of rendering judgement; 
and this had been precluded by the Legislature the previous 
winter. This was Judge McRoberts' maiden decision. He 
pompously pronounced an elaborate opinion, in which he declared 
the remission of the penalty by the Legislature unconstitutional, 
because it was a vested right accruing to the county of Madison. 
The case was in the Supreme Court, on appeal or writ of error, 
the ensuing summer, Judges Wilson, Browne, and Smith, present. 
The latter, as I have before intimated, was the prime mover of the 
prosecution. Judge Lockwood, having been of Governor Coles' 
counsel, sat aside. The case was here argued by Judge John 
Reynolds for the prosecution, and for the defense by Henry Starr, 
Esq., who took the ground of the "Higher law." I do not remem- 
ber what the decision of the Court was, if any were made. It 
seems to me that a compromise was made by the attorneys; but be 
that as it may. Governor Coles was not required to pay the penalty, 
but only the costs of prosecution. 

But I must conclude these remarks, having already, perhaps, 
said more than the occasion rendered necessary. As Governor 
Coles is to figure as the principal character in the great work in 
preparation for the press by Mr. Peck, "The Moral Progress of the 
Mississippi Valley," and as he has furnished a sketch of his life 
for its pages, I tender to Mr. P. full liberty to freely use all I have 
said of him in this discussion, asking nothing in return but the 
present of a copy of the book, when published. 

H. Warren. 
Henry, Marshall Co., 111., June 29, 1855 



Coles to Barry, June 25, 1858 
[Chicago Historical Society, Autograph Letters, 44: 33-48] 

[Endorsed in Pencil:] The following was addressed to Wm. Barry, 
who visited Ex. Gov. Coles at Phil^. about the same time. 



APPENDIX 365 

Philadelphia June 25. 1858. 
Dear Sir — 

I would sooner have replied to the letter addressed me by 
you as Secretary of the Historical Society of Chicago, for my 
reminiscences of Morris Birkbeck, but for my having been suffer- 
ing from the effects of a cold, and not being able to lay my hands 
on some of the few documents, I supposed I had, which would 
assist me in doing so. I allude to the pamphlet published by 
M''. Birkbeck of an Agricultural tour he made through France, a 
few years before he left Europe, and to the second pamphlet (the 
first I have) he published in 1823., in opposition to the attempt 
then made to make Illinois a slave-holding State; and also to some 
publications he made in the newspapers on that and other subjects, 
as well as the annual addresses he made to the Agricultural So- 
ciety of the State including an essay he published on the origin of 
prairies &c. Fearing if I delay longer to reply, my health and the 
warm season will require me to leave the City for a more agreeable 
& healthy summer residence, I have determined to furnish a few 
general facts in the best way I can from recollection, and the 
few aids I have at command. Before doing so I must state, as a 
greater difficulty in my fulfilling your request, to my satisfaction 
or that of your Society, is that on leaving Illinois I presented to 
the Historical Society of Alton all the documents, in the form of 
books and papers, I had collected in relation to that State — stipu- 
lating that my friend the Rev^: J. M Peck should, in compliance 
with his request, be allowed to retain and have the use of them, 
to aid him in the historical collections he was then engaged in 
making. This proved unfortunate, as my books and papers were 
in consequence in M"". Pecks house when it, and his library, were 
consumed by fire. A portion of them, he wrote me, had been, 
with some of his books, saved from the flames. How many, or 
what particular ones had been saved, I was not informed. Among 
the books and papers of mine thus left in the hands of M^ Peck, 
was a file of Illinois newspapers bound in volumes, embracing a 
period of twenty years, from May 1815 to the year 1835 — believed 
to be the oldest file of Illinois newspapers in existance [sic] — which 
would, if accessible to me, be of great service in this as well as in 
other cases in furnishing me dates and facts which have escaped 



366 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

my memory. I gave also to Illinois, and I presume it is in the Library 
of the office of the Secretary of State, a volume of the Illinois 
Intelligencer,^ which includes the trying and exciting times from 
1822 to 1824, when efforts were made to make Illinois a slave 
holding State. I mention these facts that you, and other members 
of your Society, may know where to find these files — if not burnt 
in M''. Pecks house. 

I beg pardon for this digrission [sic], and for saying so much 
in explanation of the past, and in excuse for the disappointment 
this communication will occasion the Historical Society of Chicago, 
and will proceed at once to sketch a few general facts, chiefly 
from a waning memory, of my old friend Birkbeck. 

I was made acquainted with Morris Birkbeck in London in 
the spring of 18 17 by John Q. Adams, then our Minister in Eng- 
land, who told me he had asked it of him, in consequence of hav- 
ing heard I had traveled much, particularly over the western 
portion of the United States. M^ Adams prepared me for the 
acquaintance by telling me M''. Birkbeck contemplated removing 
to our Country, and would be a great acquisition to it, as he was 
not only one of the best practical and scientific agriculturalists of 
Great Britain, but had much literary taste and knowledge. On 
making his acquaintance M^ Birkbeck invited me to visit him 
at his residence in the Country, which I did and remained with 
him four or five days. He held a large estate in Surrey, under 
lease for a term of years, which he cultivated and managed with 
all that skill taste and judgement for which he had reputation. 
He took me over every part of the estate, and pointed out and 
explained everything peculiar, or in which the English agricul- 
turalists excelled. This was the more interesting and gratifying 
to me from my having a predilection for agricultural pursuits. 
The pleasure I evinced, and the information I was enabled to 
impart, of how similar things were done in my Country, encour- 
aged him to ask, and to give, the most minute details as to how 
estates were cultivated and managed in our respective Countries. 

With a heart beaming with the republican and philanthrop- 
ical feelings congenial with our political Institutions, it was natural 
that he should be partial to the United States, and in early youth 
*This volume is in the Illinois State Historical Library at Springfield. 



APPENDIX 367 

to have imbibed them, with a desire to make our Republic his 
home. These feelings and this desire becoming known, as he 
presumed, led to his receiving a flattering invitation to reside in 
the United States. But for his modesty he would have attributed 
it to the early partiality he displayed for agricultural pursuits, 
the knowledge he possessed of them, his high moral and intellec- 
tual character, and promise of pre-eminence as an agriculturalist, 
as doubtless they had greater influence in obtaining the invitation 
refered to, and which I will now explain: 

Gen: Washington, being prevented by official duties, and 
other calls on his time, and having too a high opinion of English 
skill in agriculture, wrote to one of his agricultural corrispondents 
[sic] in England (M"". B. told me his name, but I have forgotten 
it) to employ for him a skillful and judicious agriculturalist to be 
his Agent and manager of his Mount Vernon estate. Young 
Birkbeck was selected and offered the station. His partiality for 
the United States made him at once accept the offer. But on 
making it known to his Father, he beseeched him, as his only 
son, not to leave him, and with that filial affection, congenial with 
his nature, he acquiesced in the wishes of his aged Parent — and 
thus delayed his becoming a Citizen of the United States. This 
incident of his life he was fond of dwelling on, and it had the effect 
of increasing his predilection for this Country, and stimulating 
his hope of ultimately making it his home. Never having lost 
sight of this, nor abated in his desire to remove to the U. S., he 
availed himself of every opportunity of gaining information of 
what he considered his future home. For this purpose he read 
our newspapers, and all our publications he could lay his hands 
on, and stowed in his extensive Library all books which treated of 
this Country. In this way he became unusually well informed of 
all things in relation to it. I was frequently astonished to find 
how diversified and minute was the information he possessed of 
the United States. 

From all M^ Birkbeck had read and heard, he was inclined 
to give the Miami Country above Cincinnati the preference, and 
looked to it as his future home. I concurred with him in consider- 
ing it a delightful Country, and like him had looked on it with 
partial eyes. But on seeing the Prairie region, I told him, I 



368 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

became convinced it was greatly to be preferred for many and 
important reasons, particularly for Europeans, or emigrants from 
old and settled Countries. The beauties and grandeur displayed 
in these great farms of nature, the facilities they afforded, and the 
conveniences and advantages derived, for more than the life time 
of a youthful emigrant, are inconceivable to one who had not 
seen and compared such a Country to a densely and heavily 
timbered one, where everything had to be done to make it sub- 
servient to the uses of man. I told him I had often thought on 
beholding a new settler in the forest, commencing to make his 
improvement, that it required more resolution, firmness & per- 
serverance in a farmer to encounter a dense forest, to convert it 
into a farm, than for a military man to lead a for-lorn-hope to 
battle. Then again the trouble and labor are not confined to 
making the farm, but extend to the opening of roads; in both cases 
when the trees are cut down and removed, and the farm & road 
are said to be opened, there still remain the stumps and roots to 
impede the progress, and increase the labor of cultivating the one, 
and traveling over the other. On my telling him the English 
laborers, he contemplated carrying with him, would be out of 
place and unprofitable in a new forest country — that one back- 
woodsman could do the work of two or three English laborers, in 
clearing lands, in cutting down trees, making rails for fences &c 
&c — he laughed at what he considered my ignorance of the dexter- 
ity of English laborers. He afterwards told me in Illinois that he 
found what I said was correct, and that he had to empl[o]y 
Americans, or backwoodsmen, for the purposes I mentioned. 

M"". Birkbeck came to this Country, accompanied by his two 
grown Daughters, and two sons (he had lost his Wife many years 
before) leaving two sons in Europe — one of which soon followed 
and resided near him in Illinois — the other was a Merchant and 
resided in Hamburg in Germany. He had also accompanying 
him his friend George Flower &c, making in all a party of nine 
persons, who came with him from England to Illinois. On learn- 
ing his intention to embark with his family and friends for Norfolk 
in Virginia, and to proceed from thence by land through parts of 
Virginia Maryland and Pennsylvania to Ohio, I furnished him 
with letters of introduction to friends of mine residing near the 



APPENDIX 369 

line of his route; and believing he would follow my advice, and 
visit Illinois before he settled himself, I gave him letters also to 
that State and Indiana. At Richmond in Virginia, where he and 
his family remained eight or ten days, my friends had the pleasure 
of showing him several plantations — one of which was on the 
banks of James River, and among the largest and best cultivated 
in the State. He was agreeably surprised to find the agriculture 
better on that place than he had expected. But as a general 
thing, he found on the line of his route through the lower portion 
of Virginia, the agriculture and general face of the Country much 
worse than he expected — which he attributed to the institution 
of Slavery. He witnessed a sale of Slaves at auction in Richmond, 
at which his feelings were harassed, and so much overcome that 
he shed tears at the grief displayed by some of the women on 
being seperated [sic] from their families. 

In his highly interesting pamphlet, entitled, "Notes of a 
journey in America from the Coast of Virginia to the territory of 
Illinois, with proposals for the establishment of a Colony of Eng- 
lish. By Morris Birkbeck, author of Notes on a tour in France' ' — 
He says — "On taking leave of Virginia, I must observe, that I 
found more misery in the condition of the negroes, and a much 
higher tone of moral feeling of their owners, than I had anticipated; 
and I depart, confirmed in my detestation of slavery in principle 
and practice; but with esteem for the general character of the 
Virginians." In another place M''. Birkbeck says — "I must 
however, do this justice to the slave master of Virginia: it was not 
from him that I ever heard a defence of Slavery: some extenua- 
tion, on the score of expediency or necessity, is the utmost range 
now taken by that description of reasoners who, in former times, 
would have attempted to support the principle as well as the 
practice." 

Soon after my return to America, I received letters from M"". 
Birkbeck, representing his journey to Ohio as having been very 
agreeable to him and his party, and the Country to have improved 
and become more cheerful and interesting in appearance as he 
proceeded West. From Madison in Indiana he wrote me July 
12. 1 8 17, that "after having looked in vain through Ohio and 
enquired with like effect about vacant lands suitable for my pur- 



370 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

poses in the State of Indiana, we, that is to say, self & family, 
are making our way into your favorite Illinois." 

Though I had cautioned him against wedding himself to the 
first lovely and bewitching Prairie he saw, and advised him to 
take time and explore the Country generally, before he purchased 
or located himself, he nevertheless became enraptured with the 
first large prairie he beheld, and his admiration increasing as he 
proceeded, he could not resist purchasing and uniting himself, 
better for worse, to the second and neighboring prairie. On my 
expressing regret he had not before purchasing gone to the western 
side of the State, and seen more of Illinois, he said emphatically 
that the man who was not satisfied and wanted anything better, 
was not fit for this world, and it was ominous that he would not 
be satisfied & happy in the next. 

There being no dwellings or improvements on the land he 
purchased, nor comfortable accomadation [sic] near it, he and his 
family located themselves, until they could be prepared, at Prince- 
ton in Indiana. From which place he wrote me a cheerful letter 
January 7. 18 18, in which, among other things, he says: "The 
situation I have chosen is I think an exception to the general char- 
acter you have justly given of the lower Wabash. It is far out 
of the reach of that river and its attendant marshes, and affords 
as good prospects, in point of health, as any country I have seen 
west of the Ohio. You give us reason to hope that we shall see 
you in the spring: I will therefore wait for the pleasure of con- 
ducting you over our Prairie, without further attempts to weaken 
your objections; for I daresay you have learnt to confide little in 
the statements of settlers with regard to their own choice. We 
emigrants are generally sanguine. I think myself tolerably wary 
and cool headed; but many, who suppose they know me, would 
laugh at my pretensions. My daughters, I am most happy to 
say, are anything but repentants. They adapt themselves most 
cordially to all that is comfortable in our new condition, and have 
a good knack in extracting some pleasures from circumstances, 
[which] to minds of a sinister cast, would be misery unmixed. 
No sir, in good truth we are not penitents: we left behind us some- 
thing to regret, and we find here much to enjoy; and our enjoy- 
ments have the charm of improvement, which brightens every 



APPENDIX 371 

thing in a new Country; whilst the privations are in their nature 
temporary. For a man of my age you will say this way of view- 
ing the subject is a little too remote: but if it answers the purpose, 
no matter! I ought to have mentioned when on the subject of 
my application for land, that I have received a very polite and 
friendly letter from Mr. Madison, whose sentiments are similar 
to those you express. — I should gladly have smoothed the way for 
many of my old friends, who are weighed down by taxation and 
pauperism : All I want of indulgence is in point of time. I might 
otherwise expose myself to great inconveniences. However hav- 
ing made the application I leave it to the good sense of the Legis- 
lature. It is a trifle to grant, but, to the object of it, it would be 
inestimable. 

If your visit to our Country should not be before May, I 
hope to receive you in our Cabin on Boltinghouse prairie; where 
you shall have a hearty welcome to a share of our mush & milk, 
sweetened, if you please, with delicious honey." 

In explanation of the above extract, I will add that Mr. 
Birkbeck made application to Congress that winter to grant him 
and his companions a longer time to complete their payments to 
the Government for the lands they proposed to purchase and settle 
on — which however was not granted. I gave Mr. B. a letter of 
introduction to ex President Madison, which in passing through 
Virginia, not going near his residence, he did not deliver. This 
will explain his writing to Mr. M. 

Owing to my going to Illinois in a steamboat to St. Louis, 
and being occupied in the western, my favorite part of the State, 
I was prevented from visiting M''. Birkbeck until in the autumn 
of i8i8.,^ when I was exceedingly gratified — the more so from his 
assuring me that I was the cause of his being an inhabitant of the 
prairies — to find him and his family very comfortably fixed in 
them, had then been in the enjoyment of uninterrupted health, 
with no abatement in their first prepossessions for their new home, 
and in fine that all were contented and happy, with their expecta- 
tions more than realized. They were all kindness and devotion 
to me, and I enjoyed my visit exceedingly, which I did in all the 
numerous visits I made them. 

^Mr. Coles made two trips to Illinois before his final removal with his slaves 
in 1 8 19. His first trip was made in 1815. 



372 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Under the expectation that the number of emigrants looked 
for would have the effect greatly to advance the price of lands in 
the vicinage, M^ Birkbeck purchased a larger amount than he 
cared about permanently holding, & hoped to sell a portion of it 
at an advanced price, but on terms of credit and accommodation 
to the emigrants which were expected. But in this he; did not 
realise [sic] his anticipations. For although emigrants, as ex- 
pected, soon followed him, and to an extent that in a year or two 
amounted to some 6 or 800 English people, yet owing to an 
unfortunate schism which sprung up between M"". Birkbeck and 
M"". George Flower, his old friend and coadjutor in the scheme of 
emigration; and second only to Birkbeck in wealth and influence 
in the English settlements and this feud spreading through the 
settlement, had a bad influence on the social intercourse and joint 
action of the English settlement, and proved very deleterious to 
its advance and prosperity. Another cause which had influence 
in retarding its progress was Rapps settlement near it on the 
Wabash called "Harmony," in which, consistently with its name, 
there was for many years a great deal of harmony and friendly 
communion which contributed to its prosperity. Such were the 
effects of discord at the one place, and harmony at the other, that 
with all the skill and dexterity of English laborers, they found it 
cheaper, as they told me, to buy many agricultural productions 
& other necessaries of life, at Harmony than to make them them- 
selves at and near their town of Albion. Notwithstanding this 
unnatural, and from Mr. Birkbecks amiable and benevolent 
feelings, peculiarly painful state of things to him, between friends 
and acquaintances who had left their native land kindred and 
early friends, and removed together to a distant country and 
settled among strangers — Mr. Birkbeck remained constantly at 
home, indulging in the intellectural [sic] enjoyments of his large 
and well selected library, and in the rural and agricultural pur- 
suits of his new estate. I had the pleasure of visiting him nearly 
every spring and autumn, and participating in his enjoyments, 
and witnessing the annoyances arising from the feud — the only 
drawback he seemed to have. Everything else connected with 
his settlement and residence in Illinois, was more agreeable than 
even his sanguine imagination had anticipated. 



APPENDIX 373 

In October 1819, over the signature of "A Farmer of Madison 
County," I invited the Farmers of Illinois to meet on the loth 
of the next month to form an Agricultural Society of the State of 
Illinois. This was accordingly done. Mr. Birkbeck was pre- 
vented from attending the meeting, and never having visited the 
western portion of the State, nor gone to any distance from home, 
he was known only as the head and founder of the English settle- 
ment in Edwards County, and not personally known to but very 
few of the people of Illinois. I nevertheless ventured to bring 
him to notice of the Society as the best qualified man in the State 
to be its President; and had the more influence in effecting my 
object, as I was also brought forward for the same station, which 
I declined in favor of M''. Birkbeck. He was annually re-elected, 
and continued its President for four years, when he declined 
serving longer, in consequence as he avowed, of the Society meet- 
ing at the Seat of Gov*: in the winter, and the length and dis- 
comforts of traveling so far at that inclement season of the year. 
There was another reason which he whispered to me, as having 
its influence in leading him to decline serving as President, and 
disheartening him in the cause. It was a conviction that the 
Country was not ripe for it, as was evinced in the want of zeal 
displayed in its support. Mr. Birkbecks annual addresses to the 
Society were well written, as everything from his pen was, and 
displayed all that knowledge which was to be expected from his 
high reputation as a scientific and practical agriculturist. In 
some instances however, I will venture to say, it was perceptible 
to a practical American agriculturalist, that his knowledge how- 
ever great, was better adapted to the place of its nativity — to 
England than to America — to an old Country where land is of the 
first consideration, and labor of the second — than to a new and 
sparsely settled Country, where land is plenty and cheap, and labor 
scarce and dear. This want of adaptation of his knowledge and 
practice, in every instance, to a new and sparsely inhabited 
Country, was to be expected of a man reared as he had been, and 
with his short experience of the difference between an old and 
new Country. It was apparent in many things in the manage- 
ment of his Estate in Illinois, especially in its not being as profit- 
able as it should have been. But then in justice to him, and to 



374 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

all of us of that day, it should be stated, that the want of profit 
on landed estates arose from the want of internal improvements, 
and its consequent want of opportunities of sending to or finding 
a market for our productions. 

In the spring of 1823, after the Legislature had taken the 
first step toward making Illinois a slave-holding State, by sub- 
mitting the question for the consent of the people, to call a Con- 
vention to alter the Constitution for that purpose, I wrote to Mr. 
Birkbeck urging him to take an active part in crushing in the bud 
a measure inconsistent and revolting to the spirit of the age, and 
disgraceful to the State: That no time should be lost in the active 
employment of his powerful pen, in commencing and continuing 
his labors in drawing up and publishing, pamphlets, newspaper 
paragraphs, and in every way in his power, to enlighten the people 
on the question which had been submitted to them. This he 
promised me to do, and accordingly published in July 1823 "An 
Appeal to the people of Illinois on the question of a Convention — 
By Morris Birkbeck." In this pamphlet Mr. B. displayed his 
great powers of composition, and skill in handling the question. 
He continued his labors in publishing a second pamphlet, and 
numerous articles in the newspapers, some over his own name, 
and many over that of "Jonathan Freeman" — "Q." — and others. 
Most of these articles were published in the Illinois Gazette, and 
many of them republished in other newspapers; and the pam- 
phlets were reprinted for greater circulation among the Citizens of 
Illinois. No one rejoiced more than Mr. Birkbeck in our success 
in preventing Illinois from being made a slave-holding-State. 

David Blackwell having been elected a Member of the Legis- 
lature, and having notified me in September of his intention to 
resign the office of Secretary of State on the first of the following 
month, I wrote and tendered the office to M"". Birkbeck. This 
surprised him very much, as no intimation of such an intention 
had been given him, or wish for the office had been hinted at by 
him, or any of his friends. Expressing gratification at such a 
flattering proof of my friendship and high opinion of him, and the 
opportunity it would afford him of being near and associating with 
me, he consented to accept, and accordingly in a few days attended 
at the seat of government, and entered on the duties of his office. 



APPENDIX 375 

He went to work at once to make himself acquainted with them, 
and his methodical business habits, and familiarity with arranging 
books and papers in his extensive library, were soon visible in the 
improved and classified arrangement of those belonging to the 
office of Secretary of State. In a reasonable time after the meet- 
ing of the Legislature, and after he had time to become acquainted 
with the Members, I nominated him to the Senate for their con- 
firmation of his appointment as Secretary of State. Much to my 
regret, and to his mortification, on the vote being taken there was 
found to be a small majority of the Senators opposed to his con- 
firmation. This arose from no doubt of his ability and qualifi- 
cation for the office, but from his being a foreigner recently 
naturalized; and from his retired habits he had made himself but 
very little known; and from his having given offence to some from 
the active and efficient part he had taken in preventing Illinois 
from being made a slave-holding-State; and also from his having 
been thought to have meddled in some measures before the 
Legislature in a way not pleasing to some of the Members. Soon 
after his rejection by the Senate he returned to Wanborough his 
residence in Edwards County, and resumed his quiet domestic life 
devoting himself to his farm, which he never left to go a distance 
from home. 

On the adjournment of the Court at Albian [sic] in [blank in 
MS.] Mr. Birkbeck, Judge Wattles, and several of the Lawyers, 
made a visit to the celebrated Robert Owen and his associates, 
who had purchased out Rapp and were residing at Harmony. 
After spending several days in a very sociable and agreeable man- 
ner, Mr. Birkbeck and his Son set out to return home, soon after 
a very heavy shower of rain had fallen, which swelled the little 
creek opposite Harmony on the west side of the Wabash river, 
in attempting to cross which Mr. Birkbeck and his horse were 
drowned. 

I have not had opportunities since Mr. Birkbecks death, and 
my removal from Illinois, to learn about his children, and what 
little I have heard has been in the form of rumor, and may not 
be correct. It is certain however that his posterity have not 
taken that deep root in the prairies of Illinois as was to have been 
presumed they would have done, from his great predilection for 



376 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

them. I understand his children, not long after his death, sold 
all the landed estate he died possessed of in Illinois, and removed 
from the State: One son to Indiana, near Harmony, and two of 
his sons, and his two daughters migrated many years since to 
Mexico, and were, the last I heard of them, employed in super- 
intending some kind of mines. 

With again asking your indulgence for the imperfections of 
this communication, as well for the reasons assigned, as for those 
arising from the burden and infirmities of age, which make writing 
tedious and laborious, I will conclude with renewing assurances of 
my great respect. 

Edward Coles 
William Barry Esq: Secretary of the Historical Society of Chi- 
cago. 



Coles' History of the Ordinance of 1787 

[Read before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, June 9, 1 856 [Philadelphia] 
Press of the Society, 1856] 

Ordinance of 1787. 

to the historical society of pennsylvania. 

I AM sensible of the compliment paid me by the passage of 
the Resolution of the Society, requesting me to prepare for it an 
historical sketch of the celebrated Ordinance of 1787, and regret 
that sedentary occupation, and particularly the labor of the pen, 
being prejudicial to my health, will prevent my making such a 
response to the call as the highly interesting character of the 
subject requires, or fulfilling the expectations doubtlessly enter- 
tained by the Society when the resolution was adopted. This 
state of things will disable me from making the researches neces- 
sary to a full exposition of facts, or even writing out my recollec- 
tions of them to the extent desired. It will require me to econo- 
mize my labors in every way I can, and particularly the prejudicial 
one of writing, and content myself with developing only such facts 
as are essential to understanding the history of the Ordinance. To 
this I must add, as a further barrier to my doing justice to the 
subject, that I cannot procure, here, a history of Indiana, or 
indeed anything that deserves that name of any of the subdivisions 



APPENDIX 377 

into which the Northwestern Territory was divided; which com- 
pels me to rely mainly for local facts on my memory and personal 
memoranda. With this explanation, I will proceed at once to 
comply with the request of the Historical Society of Pennsyl- 
vania. 

The country situated to the northwest of the Ohio River, 
long known as the Northwestern Territory, was claimed by Virginia, 
except a small part of it bordering on Lake Erie, which was 
claimed by Connecticut. These two States ceded all their claims 
to the United States, and thus they obtained a perfect title to 
the whole. The deed of cession from Virginia was dated March i, 
1784; and was signed, among others, by Jefferson and Monroe, 
afterwards Presidents of the United States. It ceded all her 
right and title to the soil and jurisdiction to the United States, 
and made many stipulations; among others, "That the French and 
Canadian inhabitants and other settlers of the Kaskaskias, St. 
Vincents, and the neighboring villages, who have professed them- 
selves citizens of Virginia, shall have their possessions and titles 
confirmed to them, and be protected in the enjoyment of their 
rights and liberties." It also reserved 150,000 acres of land near 
the rapids of the Ohio for that portion of her State troops which 
had reduced the country, and about 3,500,000 acres of land 
between the rivers Scioto and Little Miami for bounties to her 
troops on the "Continental Establishment." These facts are 
mentioned, and should be borne in mind, as they will be shown 
to have an influence in forming the opinions and explaining 
the conduct of a portion of the inhabitants under the operation 
of the Ordinance. In consequence of the objectionable stipu- 
lations made by Virginia, as to the divisions of the territory 
into States, the deed of cession was referred back to that State, 
with a recommendation from Congress, that these stipulations 
should be altered. On December 30, 1788, Virginia assented 
to the wish of Congress, and formally ratified and confirmed 
the fifth article of compact, which related to this subject, and 
tacitly gave her assent to the whole ordinance of 1787. A few 
days after the execution of the deed of cession by Virginia, at 
the instance of Mr. Jefferson, a committee was raised, consisting 
of Thomas Jefferson, of Va., Samuel Chase, of Maryland, and 



378 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

David Howell, of Rhode Island, for the purpose of organizing 
and providing for the Government of the newly acquired terri- 
tory. Mr. Jefferson, as chairman of the committee, made a 
report, now to be seen in his handwriting among the archives of 
Congress in the Department of State at Washington. It provides, 
"that the territory ceded or to be ceded by individual States to 
the United States," "shall be formed into distinct States," the 
names of which were given, and the boundaries defined; and the 
divisions thus made contemplated and embraced all the western 
territory lying between the Florida and Canada lines. That is, it 
included the territory which had been "ceded" to the northwest of 
the Ohio River, and that "to be ceded" to the southwest of that 
River, or elsewhere, by individual States to the United States. 
It also provided for a temporary or Territorial Government; 
authorized the adoption of the laws of any other State: to have 
a representative on the floor of Congress, with the right of debat- 
ing but not voting, &c., &c., until the inhabitants should amount 
to 20,000, after which it authorized the formation of a permanent 
or State government; and for its admission into the Union: 
Provided both the Territorial and State Governments should 
be established on the following principle as a basis, which were 
declared to be articles of a charter of compact, to stand as funda- 
mental constitutions between the thirteen original States and 
the new States to be formed, unalterable but by the joint consent 
of the United States, and the particular State with which such 
alteration was proposed to be made: ist. That they shall 
forever remain a part of the United States of America. 2d. That 
in their persons, property, and territory, they shall be subject 
to the Government of the United States in Congress assembled, 
and to the articles of confederation in all those cases in which 
the original States shall be so subject. 3d. That they shall 
be subject to pay a part of the Federal Debt, contracted or to be 
contracted, to be apportioned on them by Congress according to 
the same common rule and measure by which apportionment 
thereof shall be made on the other States. 4th. That their 
respective Governments shall be republican in form, and shall 
admit no person to be a citizen who holds any hereditary title. 
5th. That after the year 1800 of the Christian era, there shall 



APPENDIX 379 

be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the said 
States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes whereof the 
party shall have been duly convicted to have been personally guilty. 
Before proceeding further in making references and quotations, 
I must inform those who have not had occasion to examine the 
Journals of the Old Congress, that they are so imperfectly made 
out, with so many omissions, that it is impossible to trace the 
proceedings, and fully to understand what took place in forming 
the Ordinance or any other measure of the kind. It may also 
be well to state, in order to enable all to understand the Journals, 
that the Old Congress, under the Articles of Confederation, 
voted by States; that to entitle a State to vote it must have at 
least two members present; and that for the adoption of a measure, 
at least seven States (the majority of the whole number of the 
thirteen States) must vote in favor of it: indeed in some impor- 
tant cases nine States were required. 

Previous proceedings are to be inferred from the following 
entry in the Journals, though I have not been able to find them. 
April 19, 1784, "Congress took into consideration the report of 
a committee consisting of Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Chase, and Mr. 
Howell, to whom was recommitted their report of a plan for a 
temporary Government of the Western Territory; when a motion 
was made by Mr. Spaight, seconded by Mr. Read, to strike out 
the following paragraph: 'That after the year 1800 of the Christ- 
ian era there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude 
in any of the said States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes 
whereof the party shall have been convicted to have been per- 
sonally guilty.' And on the question, shall the words, moved 
to be struck out, stand. The yeas and nays being required by 
Mr. Howell: 

New Hampshire — Mr. Foster, ay; Mr. Blanchard, ay . Ay. 

Massachusetts — Mr. Gerry, ay; Mr. Partridge, ay . . Ay. 

Connecticut — Mr. Sherman, ay; Mr. Wadsworth, ay . Ay. 

New York — Mr. De Witt, ay; Mr. Paine, ay ... . Ay. 

Rhode Island — Mr. Ellery, ay; Mr. Howell, ay . . . Ay. 

New Jersey — Mr. Dick, ay 

Pennsylvania — Mr. Miffln, ay; Mr. Montgomery, ay; 
Mr. Handy, ay Ay. 



380 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Maryland — Mr. McHenry, no; Mr. Stone, no . . . No. 
Virginia — Mr. Jefferson, ay; Mr. Hardy, no; Mr. Mercer, 

no No. 

North Carolina — Mr. Spaight, no; Mr. Williamson, ay 

Divided. 
South Carolina — Mr. Read, no; Mr. Beresford, no . . No. 

So the question was lost and the words were struck out." 

That is, although there were six States in favor of retaining 
the clause, out of the ten States that voted, it was nevertheless 
struck out, because there was wanted the vote of one more State 
to make a majority of all the States then in the confederation. 

Congress resumed the consideration of the plan of the Govern- 
ment of the Territories, from day to day, until April 23, 1784, 
when it was agreed to, as amended, with the concurrence of every 
State (except Delaware and Georgia, not represented), and of 
every member of Congress except the two from South Carolina. 

The plan of Government thus adopted by Congress was founded 
on one reported by Mr. Jefferson, with some alterations. The 
chief of these consisted in striking out the clauses prohibiting 
slavery, as seen above, inhibiting citizens from holding any hered- 
itary title, and giving names and boundaries to the new States; 
and also in adding to the fundamental articles of compact, as 
drawn by Mr. Jefferson, that the new States should in no case 
interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by the United 
States, that no tax should be imposed on lands the property of 
the United States, and that the lands of non-residents were never 
to be taxed higher than the lands of residents. With these excep- 
tions, the plan adopted by Congress, April 23, 1784, was substan- 
tially the same, and for the most part, in the words of the one 
submitted to Congress by Mr. Jefferson. Fourteen days after its 
passage, viz: May 7, 1784, Mr. Jefferson was appointed minister 
to France and vacated his seat in Congress. 

The next notice of the subject I have been able to find in 
the journals of Congress, is on the i6th of March, 1785, when 
"a motion was made by Mr. King, seconded by Mr, EUery, that 
the following proposition be committed: that there shall be neither 
slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the States described 
in the resolve of Congress of the 23d of April, 1784, otherwise 



APPENDIX 381 

than in punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been 
personally guilty; and that this regulation be an article of com- 
pact, and remain a fundamental principle of the Constitutions 
between the thirteen original States and each of the States de- 
scribed in the said resolve of the 23d of April, 1784." 

On the question for commitment, the yeas and nays being 
required by Mr. King, eight States, viz: New Hampshire, Massa- 
chusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, and Maryland voted in the affirmative; and three 
States, viz: Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina voted 
in the negative. Georgia had but one member present, and of 
course, her vote was not counted. To what committee this 
motion was referred, or what further was done on the subject is 
not stated in the journal. 

On the 7th of July, 1786, this entry is made: "Congress took 
into consideration a report of a grand committee, to whom, among 
other things, was referred a motion of Mr. Monroe respecting the 
cession of Western Territory, and forming the same into States;" 
when it was "resolved that it be and is hereby recommended to the 
Legislature of Virginia, to take into consideration their act of 
cession, and revise the same, so far as to make such a division of 
the territory of the United States lying northwardly and westward- 
ly of the river Ohio, into distinct and republican States, not more 
than five nor less than three," &c. 

The next entry in the journal which has reference to the 
subject is under date of September 29, 1786, when, "Congress 
proceeded in the consideration of an Ordinance for the government 
of the Western Territory, reported by Mr. Johnson, Mr. Pinckney, 
Mr. Smith, Mr. Dane, and Mr. Henry." On the 4th of October 
following, "Congress resumed the consideration of the Ordinance 
for the government of the Western Territory." On May 9, 1787, 
"Congress proceeded in the second reading of the Ordinance for 
the government of the Western Territory." On May 10, 1787, the 
third reading was postponed. On July 11, 1787, "the committee 
consisting of Mr. Carrington, Mr. Dane, Mr. R. H. Lee, Mr. Kean, 
and Mr. Smith, to whom was referred the report of a committee 
touching the temporary government of the Western Territory, 
reported an Ordinance for the government of the Territory of the 



382 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

United States northwest of the river Ohio; which was read a 
first time." 

The next day it was read a second time, and the day following, 
July 13, 1787, it was read a third time and passed by the following 
vote: "the yeas and nays being required by Mr. Yates. 

Massachusetts — Mr. Holton, ay; Mr. Dane, ay . . . Ay. 

New York — Mr. Smith, ay; Mr. Haring, ay; Mr. Yates, 
no ... Ay. 

New Jersey — Mr. Clarke, ay; M. Scheurman, ay . . Ay. 

Delaware — Mr. Kearney, ay; Mr. Mitchell, ay . . . Ay. 

Virginia — Mr. Grayson, ay; Mr, R. H. Lee, ay; Mr. 
Carrington, ay Ay. 

North Carolina — Mr. Blount, ay; Mr. Hawkins, ay . Ay. 

South Carolina — Mr. Kean, ay; Mr. Huger, ay . . . Ay. 

Georgia — Mr. Few, ay; Mr. Pierce, ay Ay. 

So it was resolved in the affirmative." 
The Ordinance as it thus finally passed Congress with such 
extraordinary unanimity, first provides rules for the inheritance 
and conveyance of property; it then provides for the appointment 
of the Governor, Judges, and other officers of the temporary or 
territorial governments, and defines their powers and duties; it 
also provides for the election of a delegate to Congress, to have 
the right of debate but not of voting during the temporary govern- 
ment. It then goes on to say, "for extending the fundamental 
principles of civil and religious liberty," &c. "It is hereby 
ordained and declared, by the authority aforesaid, that the fol- 
lowing articles shall be considered as articles of compact between 
the original States, and the people and States in the said territory, 
and forever remain unalterable unless by common consent." 
Of these the first article secures the religious freedom of the 
inhabitants: the second secures to them the right of the writ of 
habeas corpus, the trial by jury, the inviolability of contracts, 
&c.: the third declares that schools and the means of education 
shall be encouraged, and good faith shall be observed towards 
the Indians: the fourth provides that the Territories shall remain 
forever a part of the United States; pay their just proportion of 
the Federal debts and expenses; not interfere with the primary 
disposal of the soil by the United States, nor tax non-resident 



APPENDIX 383 

proprietors higher than residents; and that the navigable waters 
leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence rivers, and the 
carrying places between the same, shall be common highways 
and forever free to all the citizens of the United States: the fifth 
provides for a division of the Territory into States and their 
admission into the Union when they shall have 60,000 inhabi- 
tants, on an equal footing with the other States, provided their 
constitutions be republican; and the sixth ordains that there 
shall neither be slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said 
Territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof 
the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided always that 
any person escaping into the same from whom labor or service 
is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive 
may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his 
or her labor or services as aforesaid. There is then added a repeal 
of the resolutions of April 23, 1784. 

A comparison of the plan of government, as drawn by Mr. 
Jefferson, and that finally adopted by Congress, both of which 
I have endeavored briefly to sketch, will show — ist. That with 
Mr. Jefferson, originated the idea of a compact between the original 
States and the new States to be formed out of the territories, 
unalterable but by their joint consent. 2nd. That his plan of 
government or ordinance was intended to apply to all territory, 
ceded or to be ceded by individual States to the United States; 
while the ordinance passed by Congress confined it to territory 
previously acquired — that is to the territory northwest of the 
river Ohio. 3d. That by Mr. Jefferson's plan or ordinance the 
territory was to be formed into distinct States, whose names and 
boundaries were designated; with a provision that they might form 
a temporary government; adopt the constitution and laws of any 
one of the original States, such laws being, however, subject to 
alteration by themselves; have a representation in Congress, 
though without a vote; and when they should have 20,000 inhabi- 
tants, form a permanent State government, and be admitted into 
the Union, on an equal footing with the original States — all which 
provisions were those which formed substantially the ordinance 
as finally adopted by Congress, though it was so far qualified, that 
a State could not claim a right of admission into the Union until it 



384 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

had 60,000 inhabitants; to which were added in more detail the 
form of territorial government and some specific regulations in 
regard to the inheritance and conveyance of property. 4th. 
That to the provisions which Mr. Jefferson originated and inserted 
in his plan, making it a matter of compact that the new States 
should forever remain part of the United States; be subject to the 
government of Congress, and the articles of confederation; bear 
their share of the federal debts; adhere to a republican form of 
government, and admit no one to citizenship who should hold an 
hereditary title — to these the Ordinance as adopted by Congress 
added provisions to protect the public lands from interference and 
taxation; to preserve as highways some of the great rivers; and to 
enlarge the enumeration of the personal rights of the citizen. 5th. 
That the most important clause in Mr. Jefferson's plan — that 
which provided that "after the year 1800 of the Christian era 
there should be neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, in any 
of the said States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof 
the party shall have been duly convicted to have been personally 
guilty" — was adopted by Congress with no change, except the 
omission of the postponement of its operation until 1800, and the 
introduction of the clause for the restoration of fugitive slaves. 

Some of the above particulars would not have been stated so 
fully but for a claim which has been made to the authorship of the 
ordinance on behalf of Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts. To show 
a misconception somewhere, and in a word, the groundless charac- 
ter of this claim, it is only necessary to state that Mr. Dane took 
his seat in Congress for the first time, on the 17th of November, 
1785, more than eighteen months after the ordinance had been 
conceived and brought forth by its great author, and been 
adopted by Congress, with certain alterations, the principal one 
of which, on motion of Mr. King, had been in effect cancelled and 
the original provision restored nearly in the words of Mr. Jefferson, 
eight months before Mr. Dane took his seat in Congress. The 
Journals of Congress do not show that Mr. Dane had any particular 
part in forming the ordinance, beyond serving on two of the several 
committees to which it was referred. What he did on those 
committees, I have no means of knowing. He may have been 
active and instrumental in working into the ordinance his favorite 



APPENDIX 385 

provisions about titles to property; and thus his phrase may be 
rendered intelligible, where he says that he had "formed it mainly 
from the laws of Massachusetts." 

Having given this sketch of the origin and formation of the 
ordinance, I will now trace the history of its practical operation, 
to which I will add, the local opposition it encountered, and the 
general assent and sanction it received from Congress and from the 
Union. 

To form a correct idea of what passed in relation to the ordi- 
nance, it is necessary to recall to mind the efforts made by France 
to encompass and restrict the western frontiers of the English 
Colonies, by establishing a cordon of forts with surrounding 
settlements connecting its colonies of Louisiana and Canada; 
and that France claimed and occupied much of the territory to the 
eastward of the Mississippi River, prior to 1763, when it was ceded 
to England; after which it formed parts of the English slave- 
holding colonies. When these facts are considered, it will not 
excite surprise that the inhabitants of the settlements, thus 
formed and governed, should have been favorable to the existence 
of slavery, as it was established by the French laws of Louisiana, 
and by the laws of the English Colonies to which the country ea§t 
of the Mississippi River became attached by the cession of France 
in 1763. From the first settlement, therefore, by the white race, 
of the country northwest of the Ohio river, by the French at and in 
the vicinity of Kaskaskia, about the year 1682, and by a company 
of emigrants from Virginia about one hundred years subsequently, 
slavery had existed, and was as lawfully established as it had been 
under the laws of Louisiana or those of Virginia. It was the 
knowledge of this existence of slavery, and his known opinion in 
favor of a prospective rather than a sudden abolition, that induced 
Mr. Jefferson to use the phrase he did in the ordinance — "That 
after the year 1800 of the Christian era there shall be neither 
slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the said States, &c." 
This provision recognized the existence of slavery, and contem- 
plated the toleration of it in those States for sixteen years (he drew 
the ordinance in 1784), when it was to cease. From this it is 
clearly seen that the illustrious author of the ordinance intended 
it to abolish the then existing state of slavery, as well as to prohibit 



386 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

its ever being tolerated in the country northwest of the Ohio 
River. 

To these reasons for the existence then of negro slavery, may 
be added the fact of Virginia having granted land to many of her 
citizens who had served in the wars carried on against the Indians, 
and in this way having had opportunities of seeing the country to 
the northwest of the Ohio, and being pleased with it, they settled 
on the lands thus granted to them. In this way the first settlers, 
both of French and English descent, were from slaveholding 
colonies, and the laws of those colonies having been extended to, 
and being in full operation at the time of the adoption of the ordi- 
nance, it was to have been expected that its provision for the 
prohibition of slavery would not be popular with many of them. 
These feelings of disapprobation at once evinced themselves by the 
larger and more intelligent slaveholders removing across the river 
into Louisiana, and taking with them their slaves, to prevent their 
being emancipated by the Ordinance. The poorer and less intelli- 
gent masters, each owning but a very few slaves, being ignorant 
of the English language and laws, and being also cut off from a 
knowledge of passing events, by there being then no mails running 
to their remote settlements, continued to hold and to treat their 
late slaves as if the Ordinance had not emancipated them. This 
state of things continued for a long time, in consequence of the 
ignorance of the negroes of the English language and of the mode 
of obtaining their rights, and from the fear of punishment if they 
attempted it, and also, from the odium which attached to those 
who should aid them. To this should be added, that many of the 
officers in whose hands the law had placed the power, were them- 
selves claimants of the negro services, and interested in continuing 
the then existing state of things. The long and extraordinary 
acquiescence in the continuance of the bondage of the French 
slaves (as they were called) encouraged those who can always find 
reasons for doing what will promote their own immediate interest, 
or what they like to do, to set up a right to the French negroes' 
services; some contending for it under the treaty of 1763, and 
some under the terms of cession from Virginia. 

But it is useless to expose or dwell longer on the errors of 
these prejudiced and interested partisans. It is enough to confute 



APPENDIX 387 

and silence them, to recite the facts that the highest judicial 
tribunals of individual States and of the Federal Government, 
have decided and put the question at rest, that slaves cannot be 
lawfully held in the country northwest of the Ohio River. At an 
early period, it was so decided by the Supreme Court of Indiana; 
afterwards, a similar decision was made by the Supreme Courts of 
Missouri and Illinois; and in 1831 these decisions were concurred 
in and confirmed by the highest judicial authority of the United 
States. A doubt can no longer exist, that such a decision would 
have been made at any, even the earliest period after the adoption 
of the ordinance, if the question had been brought before the 
judiciary. Of course, the continuance of the remnant of French 
slaves for so long a time in Illinois, arose from the fact of its being 
quietly acquiesced in, and not brought to the decision of the Courts 
of Justice. If the question had ever been brought before me, as 
Governor of the State, I would not have hesitated for a moment to 
decide, and, if necessary to have enforced the decision, that slavery 
did not legally exist in Illinois, and of course all held in service, 
as suoh, were entitled to their freedom. This opinion I expressed 
in my Inaugural Address, and in messages to the Legislature. 

Although the ordinance, from neglect to enforce it, was not 
made available for a considerable time, as it respected the French 
negroes held in servitude, it went into immediate operation from 
its adoption, so far as to exclude the further introduction of slaves 
into Illinois. No slaves were brought by those who acquired 
military lands from Virginia, or who were induced by other con- 
siderations to emigrate to the northwestern territory, from a con- 
viction that they would become free under the Ordinance. With 
the exception therefore of some hundreds of French negroes who 
remained in the country, and continued in bondage for a time in 
violation of the Ordinance, that instrument effected the object of 
its enlightened and benevolent author in excluding slave emigrants, 
and making a non-slaveholding State of Illinois, and of all the 
other States formed out of the northwestern territory. 

In addition to the causes already stated for creating a pre- 
judice against the provision of the Ordinance, prohibiting slavery, 
many persons, particularly in Indiana and Illinois, had their 
prejudices further increased by their contiguity to slave-holding 



388 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

districts of country, and the opportunities furnished by this, as 
well as by the numerous emigrants who passed through them on 
their way to Missouri, to mingle and hear such representations as 
were calculated to dissatisfy them with the prohibitory clause in 
the Ordinance. To this must be added, as a further and more 
powerful influence, the fact that the high and influential territorial 
ofiicers were from slaveholding States, and were not only the 
advocates, but exerted their potent influence to get the prohibitory 
clause repealed by Congress, if possible; if not, to get it so modified 
as to admit of the holding of slaves, at least for a limited time. 

These various influences operated to create dissatisfaction, 
particularly with the partisans of the territorial officers, and 
such citizens as were interested in, or were under the influence of 
the former system of servitude, and of course of that class of men 
to be found everywhere, who delight in exercising the rights and 
privileges of masters. All these causes produced excitement, 
and had their efi^ect in elections, and repeatedly showed themselves 
in the form of petitions from the people and the legislatures to 
Congress, asking a repeal or modification of the clause of the 
Ordinance prohibiting slavery. To these applications. Congress 
uniformly and decidedly refused its assent, and sustained the 
prohibitory clause of the Ordinance. As instances of this, I 
will state, that in March, 1803, the celebrated John Randolph, of 
Virginia, as chairman of a committee of the House of Representa- 
tives of Congress, to which one of these petitions was referred, 
asking the suspension of the provision in the ordinance prohibiting 
slavery, made a report against it, which was concurred in by the 
House. In this report the following strong and highly approba- 
tory language is used in relation to the ordinance — "That the 
rapid population of the State of Ohio sufficiently evinced, in the 
opinion of your committee, that the labor of slaves is not necessary 
to promote the growth and settlement of colonies in that region: 
That this labor, demonstrably the dearest of any, can only be 
employed to advantage in the cultivation of products more valua- 
ble than any known to that quarter of the United States: That the 
committee deem it highly dangerous and inexpedient to impair a 
provision wisely calculated to promote the happiness and pros- 
perity of the northwestern country, and to give strength and secur- 



APPENDIX 389 

ity to that extensive frontier. In the salutary operation of this 
sagacious and benevolent restraint, it is believed that the inhabi- 
tants of Indiana will, at no distant day, find ample remuneration 
for a temporary privation of labor and of emigration." 

In March, 1804, another report was made, on a similar 
application from Indiana, by a committee of the House, of which 
Mr, Rodney, of Delaware, was chairman, in which a suspension 
for ten years of the anti-slavery provision was recommended, on 
the condition that the descendents of all such slaves should, if 
males, be free at the age of 25 years, and, if females, at the age of 
21 years. In this report the House refused to concur. In Feb- 
ruary, 1806, another report was made recommending a suspension 
for ten years, by a committee of which Mr. Garnett, of Virginia, 
was chairman, with a similar result — the non-concurrence of the 
House. In February, 1807, a committee of the House, of which 
Mr. Parke, Delegate from Indiana, was chairman, made still 
another report in favor of suspending the prohibitory clause for 
ten years, in which the House again refused to concur. By what 
majorities these disapproving votes were given, is not stated on the 
Journals of the House of Representatives. But in November, 
1807, Mr. Franklin, of North Carolina, as chairman of a committee 
of the Senate of the United States, to which had been referred a 
petition from the Legislative Council and House of Representatives 
of Indiana Territory, and also a remonstrance against the same 
from the citizens of Clark County in said Territory, made a report 
against the suspension of the prohibitory clause of the ordinance, 
which was concurred in by the Senate without a dissenting voice. 

In alluding to these proceedings of Congress, Senator Benton, 
in a speech he made in the Senate of the United States, on the 
loth of June, 1850, said — "Thus five times in four years the 
respective Houses of Congress refused to admit even a temporary 
extension or rather re-extension of slavery into Indiana Territory, 
which had been, before the ordinance of 1787, a slave territory, 
holding many slaves at Vincennes. These five refusals to suspend 
the ordinance of '87 were so many confirmations of it. All the 
rest of the action of Congress on the subject, was to the same effect 
or stronger. The Missouri Compromise line was a curtailment of 
slave territory; the Texas annexation resolution was the same; the 



390 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Ordinance of '87 itself, so often confirmed by Congress, was a 
curtailment of slave territory — in fact its actual abolition; for 
it is certain that slavery existed in fact in the French settlement 
of the Illinois, at that time; and that the Ordinance terminated it, 
I act then," he said, "in conformity to the long uniformly estab- 
lished policy of Congress, as well as in conformity to my own 
principles, in refusing to vote for the extension of slavery." 

These repeated refusals of Congress to abrogate or alter the 
clause prohibiting slavery, the most important of the great funda- 
mental articles of compact, established by the Ordinance between 
the original States and those to be formed out of the Northwest 
Territory, induced its disappointed advocates in Indiana (then 
including Illinois), in the year 1807, to authorize by a law of the 
Territory the indenture of slaves over fifteen years of age, for a 
specified term of years. In many cases it was extended in practice 
to ninety-nine years, or for a term which was intended to include 
the life of the party indentured. As a slave is not competent by 
law to make an agreement or contract, he had first to be made free 
before he could enter into the indenture. But this was made a 
mere matter of form, being done simultaneously, and the master 
taking care that neither instrument should be valid until the other 
was executed. If a slave, after his master had signed his instru- 
ment of emancipation, and he was nominally free, should refuse 
to sign his indenture, the master had the right to send him out of 
the State, to sell him, and retain over him all his right as master. 
The indenture for a term equivalent to the duration of life, would 
not apparently change materially the condition of the slave; but 
it did so in this, that his condition is always better where there are 
but few slaves, as they are then more immediately under the care 
and protection of their masters. But above all the hearts of 
parents, who are indentured, find an inexpressible pleasure and a 
consoling comfort from the knowledge of the fact that their 
children will be free; males at thirty, and females at twenty-eight 
years of age, the time fixed by the Indiana law authorizing inden- 
tures. 

It may be well to add— as an incident worth mentioning, 
particularly as showing the opinion and feeling that had their 
influence in bringing it about — the preamble to an act passed by 



APPENDIX 391 

the Legislature of Illinois to repeal this law of indenture, which 
repealing act was vetoed by the Territorial Governor; in this it is 
stated that, "whereas the act of the Legislature of this Territory, 
passed the 17th of September, 1807, is intended to Introduce and 
tolerate slavery, under the pretence of voluntary servitude, in 
contravention of the paramount law of the land; and whereas such 
a system is calculated. In its operation, not only to prejudice 
the interest of individuals, but also, to introduce a host of people 
of color, who in time will become free, and at an age when they 
are unable to support themselves. The territory consequently 
cannot be benefited by such a system, the adoption of which is 
contrary to the Ordinance, and the feelings and wishes of the 
people of this territory." 

The same party, with the same views which led them, as 
described above, to countenance the continuance of the French 
servitude; to petition Congress to allow them to introduce and 
hold other slaves; and to authorize the Introduction of negroes 
under Indentures, induced them to pass a law authorizing the 
hiring of slaves from other States to labor at the salt works near 
Shawneetown. It is needless to say that all these acts were a 
violation, in form as well as In spirit, of the Ordinance of 1787. 

It is proper I should add, that the foregoing remarks have 
reference to that part of the Northwest Territory which is now 
included in the States of Indiana and Illinois. Although Virginia 
granted to her citizens more land for military services In the 
country now embraced by the State of Ohio, than in any other 
part of the Territory which she ceded in 1784 to the United States, 
yet there being In the bounds of that State no such French popula- 
tion, possessed of slaves, but on the contrary its first settlers con- 
sisted chiefly of associations of citizens from non-slave holding 
States, who held large tracts of land, containing altogether many 
hundreds of thousands of acres, of which the principal were — "the 
Connecticut western reserve, "bordering on Lake Erie; "the Ohio 
land company," composed of citizens from the New England States, 
for land on the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers; and "Symmes and 
his associates" of New Jersey, for land on the Rivers Ohio and the 
Miamls. These and other differences, which have been pointed 
out, in the origin and character of the first settlers of the east and 



392 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

west portion of the Northwest Territory, will explain the opposite 
feelings and opinions entertained by them, in relation to the clause 
of the Ordinance prohibiting slavery. We have seen the conduct 
of Indiana and Illinois — that of Ohio both as a Territory and as a 
State, showed that she differed from them, and approved of the 
Ordinance in all its parts. To this it should be added that Michi- 
gan and Wisconsin, the remaining portions of the Northwest 
Territory, whose settlers having also chiefly emigrated from non- 
slave holding communities, both native and foreign, have con- 
curred with Ohio in approving the Ordinance. Iowa, too, having 
from infancy grown up under the Ordinance, which had been 
extended over her by the "Missouri Compromise," and California, 
where slavery had been inhibited by the Spaniards before we 
acquired it, both of these States on coming into the Union com- 
plimented the Ordinance by adopting its peculiar language, and 
inscribing it in their constitution — "That neither slavery nor 
involuntary servitude, unless for punishment of crimes, shall ever 
be tolerated in these States." 

After the division of Indiana into two territorial governments, 
which took place in 1809, the eastern or Indiana part, not being 
as much under the influence of the pro-slavery proclivities as the 
western or Illinois portion, the contests in the former became less 
violent. This continued to diminish with the increase of popula- 
tion, which came chiefly from Ohio and the Northern States, until 
two or three years before Indiana became a State (in 18 16), when 
the last great struggle took place, in which, although the territorial 
officers took an active part in favor of the advocates of slavery, 
the result was so decisive and overwhelming, in favor of the anti- 
slavery party, as to have the effect of putting down the supporters 
of slavery, and an end to the slavery question in Indiana. In 
eff"ecting this, the most prominent and influential man was Jona- 
than Jennings, who served as a Delegate in Congress, and after- 
wards as Governor of the State. 

In Illinois, which was separated from Indiana, and organized 
first as a Territorial Government in 1809, and then as a State 
Government, and was admitted into the Union in 18 18, the strife 
was continued with more or less violence. It was strongly dis- 
played in the election of the convention to form a constitution for 



APPENDIX 393 

the new State, when an effort was made before the people, and a 
still greater one, in the Convention, to authorize the toleration of 
slavery in the State. In this its advocates failed, but not despair- 
ing of ultimate success, they continued their efforts until 1822, 
when it was made the controlling question in the election of that 
year. And although I, the anti-slavery candidate, was elected 
Governor, the Legislature wanted but one member to have a 
majority of two-thirds in each House, in favor of submitting the 
question to the people whether there should be a convention called 
for altering the constitution; this one member was obtained in 
what I consider an unprecedented manner. Thus the question 
was submitted to the people under the influence of a two-thirds 
vote of the Legislature. Under the provisions of the constitution 
of 18 18, when two-thirds of the members of each House of the 
Legislature should submit the question to the people, if a majority 
of the voters at the next election should be in favor of it, a conven- 
tion was to be called to revise the constitution. 

The introduction of slavery was not openly avowed by all the 
advocates of a convention, as the object in view, but it was well 
known to be so, and not denied by many, though there were cer- 
tainly other objections to the constitution of 18 18, which had their 
influence in increasing the desire for a convention to alter it. 
When this question came before the people, it produced peculiarly 
intense excitement always attendant on the agitation of the ques- 
tion of the extension of slavery; and which in this case was in- 
creased by the manner in which it had passed the Legislature; and 
the advantage intended to be taken of a temporary inequality in 
the representation, whereby portions of the State favorable to 
slavery would have a greater influence in the convention than they 
were justly entitled to. Having been placed in the lead, by the 
station assigned me, and my opinions and feelings being so warmly 
opposed to slavery as to make me leave my native state (Virginia), 
I soon placed my pen and exertions in requisition, and brought 
them to bear, doing all I could, personally and officially, to enlighten 
the people of Illinois, and prevent their making it a slave holding 
State. I trust I shall meet with indulgence from the zeal I have 
always felt in the cause, for adding, that it has ever since afforded 
me the most delightful and consoling reflections, that the abuse 



394 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

I endured, the labor I performed, and the anxiety I felt, were not 
without their reward: and to have it conceded by opponents as 
well as supporters, that I was chiefly instrumental in preventing 
a call of a convention, and making Illinois a slave holding State. 
We were sustained by a majority of about 1600 votes of the people, 
at the general election in August, 1824; and thus terminated the 
last struggle, the last effort of the slave party, to defeat the wise 
and philanthropic purposes of the Ordinance of 1787. 

It would not be doing justice to the Ordinance, nor would 
what has been written deserve the name of a hasty sketch of its 
history, were I to omit to add some of the repeated and unprece- 
dented sanctions it has received from Congress and the American 
people. We have seen it was the offspring of the greatest states- 
man of our country; and no one can fail to see in it the kindred 
political features of its elder brother, the Declaration of American 
Independence. It has been shown with what extraordinary 
unanimity it passed the old Congress — but one member voting 
against it; nor was his particular objection to the Ordinance 
known. He had been serving in the convention in Philadelphia 
from its commencement, and had left it not only in despair but in 
disgust, and he reached New York, and took his seat in Congress 
just in time to give his solitary vote against the Ordinance. But 
from his political character, and being a northern man (Mr. Yates, 
of the State of New York), it is not unreasonable to suppose, that 
it did not arise from any objection he had to the anti-slavery 
provision. On the contrary, it would be fair to presume, that the 
clause, added before its final passage, for the restitution of fugitive 
slaves, which rendered the Ordinance the more acceptable to the 
ultra slavery partisans of South Carolina and Georgia, may have 
made Mr. Yates vote against it. 

This brings to my recollection what I was told by Mr. Madison 
and which I do not remember ever to have seen in print. The Old 
Congress held its sessions, in 1787, in New York, while at the 
same time the convention which framed the constitution of the 
United States held its sessions in Philadelphia. Many individuals 
were members of both bodies, and thus were enabled to know what 
was passing in each — both sitting with closed doors in the secret 
sessions. The distracting question of slavery was agitating and 



APPENDIX 395 

retarding the labors of both, and led to conferences and inter- 
communications of the members, which resulted in a compromise 
by which the northern or anti-slavery portion of the country 
agreed to incorporate, into the Ordinance and Constitution, the 
provision to restore fugitive slaves; and this mutual and concur- 
rent action was the cause of the similarity of the provision 
contained in both, and had its influence, in creating the great 
unanimity by which the Ordinance passed, and also in making 
the constitution the more acceptable to the slave holders. 

Among the first laws passed by the first Congress and approved 
by President Washington, August 7th, 1789, was one to adapt 
the Ordinance to the new constitution of the United States. It 
thus received the sanction of Congress under the present constitu- 
tion, as it had previously done of the Old Congress under the 
Articles of Confederation. 

The 7th Congress passed an act, which was approved by 
President Jefferson, April 30, 1802, authorizing Ohio to form a 
State constitution and for her admission into the Union; "Pro- 
vided the same shall be republican, and not repugnant to the 
Ordinance of the 13th of July, 1787, between the original States, 
and the people and States of the territory northwest of the River 
Ohio." This was the first of the States, trained during its minority 
under the government of the Ordinance, which was admitted at 
maturity into the Union; and no doubt its author felt a peculiar 
pleasure at being then President of the United States, and having 
it in his power to use his influence in shaping the terms of her 
admission, so as to carry out, and perpetuate, his original purpose 
in making permanent the great fundamental provisions of the 
Ordinance, by extending them to the States, as well as to the 
Territories, to be formed out of the Northwestern Territory. 

On the 19th of April, 1816, the 14th Congress passed an act 
authorizing Indiana to form a State constitution, and for her 
admission into the Union; and on the 18th of April, 1818, the 15th 
Congress passed a similar law, for the admission of Illinois. Both 
of these acts were approved by President Madison, and both con- 
tained similar provisos — that their constitutions when formed 
should be "republican, and not repugnant to the Ordinance of July 
13, 1787." 



396 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The 1 6th Congress passed an act, commonly known as the 
Missouri Compromise, authorizing the people of Missouri to form 
a constitution and State government "and to prohibit slavery in 
certain territories," approved by President Monroe, March 6, 
1820, in which it is provided "That in all that territory ceded by 
France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana,which 
lies north of 36° 30' north latitude not included within the limits 
of the State contemplated by this act, slavery and involuntary 
servitude, otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the 
parties shall have been duly convicted, shall be, and is hereby 
forever prohibited: Provided always, that any person escaping into 
the same from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any 
State or Territory of the United States, such fugitive may be 
lawfully reclaimed, and conveyed to the person claiming his or 
her labor or service as aforesaid." This act, by using language 
so similar to that contained in the Ordinance, recognizes and 
sanctions its provisions in relation to slavery, and extends them 
to all the territory owned by the United States west of the River 
Mississippi and north of 36° 30', except the State of Missouri. 

By the joint Resolution annexing Texas to the United States, 
passed by the 28th Congress, and approved by President Tyler, 
March ist, 1845, it is stipulated, that such States as may be 
formed out of that portion of said territory lying south of 36 30 
north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise line, 
shall be admitted into the Union with, or without slavery, as the 
people of each State, asking admission, may desire: And in such 
State or States as shall be formed out of said territory, north of 
said Missouri Compromise line, slavery or involuntary servitude 
(except for crimes) shall be prohibited." 

The act passed by the 30th Congress, and approved by Presi- 
dent Polk, August 14, 1848, to establish a territorial government 
for Oregon, provides "That the inhabitants of said Territory shall 
be entitled to enjoy all and singular the rights, privileges, and ad- 
vantages granted and secured to the people of the Territory of the 
United States, northwest of the River Ohio, by the articles of 
compact, contained in the ordinance for the government of said 
Territory, on the 13th day of July, 1787, and shall be subject to 
all the conditions and restrictions and prohibitions in said articles 



APPENDIX 397 

of compact imposed upon the people of said Territory." It cannot 
escape notice, that this, the last of the many acts of Congress 
approbatory and confirmatory of the Ordinance, should be most 
complimentary of it. The language used represents the Ordinance 
as a boon by which the people of Oregon became entitled to enjoy 
all the rights, privileges and advantages which that measure 
granted and secured to the people of the Northwestern Territory. 

This statement shows that between 1787 and 1854, when the 
Missouri compromise was repealed, a period of sixty-seven years, 
eight different Congresses passed, and six different individuals 
acting as Presidents of the United States, viz: Washington, 
Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Tyler, and Polk, approved eight laws 
of the United States, enacting and re-enacting, sanctioning and 
confirming and extending, as well in length of time, as extent of 
space, the ordinance of 1787. Yes — all sections of our extensive 
and diversified country, and all the numerous parties into which 
«ur people, have been divided since our confederation was formed, 
have given to it their approbation and sanction, and that also to 
a measure involving interests, of all others, the most exciting, 
and on which there has even been the greatest and most angry 
diversity of opinions. It is believed that no similar measure 
ever received such signal and repeated proofs of the approbation 
of the people, as this Ordinance has done. To those, who will 
trace the history of this question, it will appear marvellous, and 
show the profound wisdom of those who framed such an efficacious 
measure for our country. Contrast these evidences of approbation 
of the Ordinance, with those given to the Constitution of the 
United States, and it will result greatly in favor of the former. It 
will show, if unanimity of opinion and repetition of legislative 
action can give weight, that the Ordinance is entitled to even 
more than the Constitution, which encountered much opposition 
in the national convention that made it, in which it received the 
signatures or votes of but thirty-nine out of fifty-five members 
who attended the convention, and was ratified by small majorities 
in many of the State conventions. 

To a cool and dispassionate observer, who has a knowledge 
of the enlightened origin, the great popularity, and beneficial 
effects of the ordinance, it seems to be incredible that it should 



398 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

have been repealed; and especially denounced as violating the 
great principles on which our Government is founded. Yet such 
has been the fact, and what adds to the astonishment is, that this 
has been done by men professing to be of the Jefferson school of 
politics. The inconsistency is truly mortifying to those who 
believe, as well in the capacity of man to govern himself, as in 
the wisdom and suitability of our political institutions to promote, 
above all others, his happiness. 

In conclusion I will say, the wisdom, expediency, and salu- 
tary practical effects of the Ordinance, could not be more clearly 
shown than by contrasting its operations with those of its substi- 
tute. Under the ordinance from 1787 to 1854, the Territories 
subject to it were quiet, happy, and prosperous. Since its prin- 
ciples were repudiated, in 1854, we have had nothing but conten- 
tion, riots, and threats, if not the awful realities of civil war, 
which painful state of things has been brought about by the 
substitution of the legislation of 1854 for that of 1787, long conse- 
crated as it had been by time, and by the approbation of the 
greatest and best men of our country. 



LIST OF COLES MATERIAL 
PUBLISHED 



LIST OF COLES MATERIAL PUBLISHED 

1797 

Patrick Henry to John Coles, March 19: acknowledg- 
ment of a service 19 

1814 

Edward Coles to Thomas Jefferson, July 31: plea for 

influence in favor of gradual emancipation ... 22 

Thomas Jefferson to Edward Coles, August 25: feeling 

in favor of gradual emancipation — infirmities of age 24 

Edward Coles to Thomas Jefferson, September 26: fur- 
ther plea for influence in favor of gradual emancipa- 
tion 28 

1815 

Nicholas Biddle to Edward Coles, January 17: problem 
of conscription in Pennsylvania Legislature — tardi- 
ness of Congress in war crisis 30 

Nicholas Biddle to Edward Coles, February 19: rejoicing 
at end of war — senatorial campaign 

Nicholas Biddle to Edward Coles, March 11: the Hart- 31 

ford amendments — feeling between the South and 
East 34 

1816 
James Madison to Edward Coles, July 7: offer of special 

mission to Russia 39 

James Monroe to the consul of the United States at St. 

Petersburg, August 6: introduction of Edward Coles 39 

1818 
Nicholas Biddle to Edward Coles, February 25: attitude 
toward election to Congress — acquaintance with 

Joseph Bonaparte 32 

James Monroe to Ninian Edwards, April 13: introduction 

of Edward Coles 40 

401 



402 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

1820 

Notice of sale of public lands, September 30 .... 221 

Edward Coles to William Crawford, November 10: report 

of seventy claims to lots in Peoria 222 

Edward Coles to Daniel Cook, November 15: matter of 

the Peoria land claims 253 

1821 

Edward Coles to Henry S. Dodge, February 22: advan- 
tages of prairie farming 255 

Notice to debtors for public lands, September 17 . . . 259 

1822 

Edward Coles to Editor o( Illinois Intelligencer, June 4: 
emancipation of slaves — false charge of holding val- 
uable negroes 261 

William McKee to Edward Coles, August 17: gubernato- 
rial election — excitement in Pike County .... 66 

Edward Coles to Messrs. Brown and Berry, December 

10: protest against title "His Excellency." ... 55 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Indiana, December 31 : 

act on the navigation of the Wabash River . . . 4:32^ 

1823 

Edward Coles to Ninian Edwards, Jesse Thomas, and 
Daniel Cook, January 5: reservation of Vermilion 
Saline — selection of seminary lands 4-32 

Edward Coles to Ninian Edwards, Jesse Thomas and 
Daniel Cook, January 1 1 : resolution on sectional 
road 4:34 

Edward Coles to the President of the United States, Jan- 
uary 20: memorial on seminary lands 4:35 

Edward Coles to the Senate, February 14: rights of gov- 
ernor in matter of appointment 113 

Edward Coles to John Lofton, February 16: rejection of 

Lofton's nomination by the Senate 115 

^ These references are to Greene and Alvord, Governors' Letter-Books y 1818-1834. 
{Collections oj the Illinois State Historical Library ^ volume 4I 



LIST OF COLES MATERIAL 403 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Indiana, February 25: 

examination of Wabash River ........ 4:36 

Morris Birkbeck to Edward Coles, March i : slavery 

issue — preparation of pamphlets 141 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Ohio, April 10: action 

of General Assembly on Ohio resolutions .... 4:37 

Edward Coles to Conrad Will, April 10: lease of Muddy 

SaHne 4^37 

Edward Coles to Richard Flower, April 12: slavery 

issue — plea for establishment of anti-slavery press . 118 

Edward Coles to Morris Birkbeck, April 12: slavery 
issue — attitude of press — effect of slavery on land 
prices i43 

Edward Coles to Nicholas Biddle, April 22: slavery 

issue — opposition to Governor's anti-slavery speech 120 

Edward Coles to William Crawford, May 1 1 : reservation 
and lease of Vermilion Saline— selection of seminary 
lands 4:38 

Nicholas Biddle to Edward Coles, May 20: anti-slavery 

pamphlet 123 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Indiana, May 24: action 

on the Wabash River 4:39 

Nicholas Biddle to Edward Coles, May 26: introduction 

of Roberts Vaux 1 23 

Nicholas Biddle to Edward Coles, May 26: concerning 

Roberts Vaux — Abolition Society of Philadelphia . . 124 

Roberts Vaux to Edward Coles, May 27: offer of aid in 

anti-slavery campaign 127 

Edward Coles to the governors of the different states, 
June 10: transmits state laws— requests exchange of 
laws 4H<^ 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Indiana, June 14: exam- 
ination of Wabash River 4:41 

Edward Coles to Roberts Vaux, June 27: thanks for offer 

of services — caution as to manner of assistance . . 127 

Edward Coles to Thomas Sloo, June 30: offer of appoint- 
ment as aid-de-camp 263 

Edward Coles to William Crawford, July 19: reservation 

of Vermilion Saline — selection of seminary lands . . 4:41 



404 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Roberts Vaux to Edward Coles, July 24: announcement 

of the preparation of several pamphlets .... 129 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Indiana, August 2: 
appointment of Wabash River commissioner — exam- 
ination of river 4:43 

Edward Coles to the governors of the different states and 
Illinois senators and representatives in Congress, 
August 10: encloses report and resolutions . . . 4:44 

Edward Coles to John Quincy Adams, August 14: copies 

of state laws — Congressional Journals received . . 4^44 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Maryland, August 14: 

finances of state 4^45 

Edward Coles to John Messinger, Robert McLaughlin, 
and Curtiss Blakeman, August 21: appointment of 
commissioners to select seminary lands — instructions 4^47 

Edward Coles to I. V. U. Yates, September 4: New York 

poor laws received — poor in Illinois 4^50 

Edward Coles to Thomas Hynde, September 15: examin- 
ation of Wabash River 4:52 

Edward Coles to Nicholas Biddle, September 18: slavery 
issue — attitude of press — danger of interference from 
without the state 130 

Edward Coles to G. Bomford, September 22: quota of 

arms due state 4:54 

Edward Coles to D. Drane, September 22: quota of arms 

due state 4:55 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Missouri, September 

26: requisition for murderer 4:56 

Edward Coles to Thomas Cox and Pascal Enos, October 

1 1 : reservation of seminary lands 4:57 

Edward Coles to William Crawford, November 10: reser- 
vation of seminary lands 4:58 

Morris Birkbeck to Edward Coles, December 6 : pamph- 
lets sent 147 

Edward Coles to Roberts Vaux, December ii: slavery 
issue — hope for anti-convention victory — pamphlets 
received — destruction of State House 133 



LIST OF COLES MATERIAL 405 

1824 

Summons of Edward Coles to the Circuit Court of Madi- 
son County, January 7: to answer in a plea of debt. 205 

Edward Coles to Elias Kane, January 15: bank of 

Edwardsville 264 

Edward Coles to Roberts Vaux, January 21: transporta- 
tion of certain pamphlets — institution of suit against 
Coles for emancipation of negroes within state . . 166 

Edward Coles to William Hamilton, January 24: appoint- 
ment of guardian of seminary lands 4:59 

Edward Coles to Aaron Wilson, January 24: appointment 

as guardian of seminary lands 4-59 

Edward Coles to Morris Birkbeck, January 29: pamphlets 
received — institution of suit against Coles for eman- 
cipation of negroes within state 148 

Edward Coles to Matthew Duncan, February 5: lease of 

Muddy Saline 4:61 

Morris Birkbeck to Edward Coles, February 19: Free- 
man Papers — suit against Coles rebuilding of the 
State House 151 

Charges of County Commissioners of Madison County 

against Edward Coles, March term Circuit Court . 205 

Edward Coles to Richard Hamilton, March 19: lease of 

Muddy Saline 4:62 

Edward Coles to William Hamilton, March 19: instruc- 
tions concerning seminary lands 4:63 

Edward Coles to Andrew Stephenson, April 7: attempt of 
Lieutenant-Governor Hubbard to usurp govern- 
ment 177 

Edward Coles to Aaron Wilson, June 10: appointment of 

guardian of seminary lands 4:64 

Edward Coles to Richard Hamilton, June 10: former 

letter enclosed 4'>64 

Roberts Vaux to Edward Coles, July 14: assurances of 

deep regard 173 

Edward Coles to George Graham, July 18: selection and 

reservation of seminary lands 4-64 



406 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Edward Coles to the Governor of New York, July 20: 

inqu'ry of management of New York salines . . . 4:66 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Ohio, August 25: in- 
quiry on management of Ohio seminary lands and 
salines 4:67 

Edward Coles to Willis Hargrave, August 31: report on 

Gallatin Saline requested 4:68 

Pleas of Edward Coles against the declaration of the 
Commissioners of Madison County, September 
term of Circuit Court 207 

Roberts Vaux to Edward Coles, September i : congratu- 
lations on anti-convention victory in Illinois . . . 174 

Edward Coles, a proclamation, September 6: division of 

state into electoral districts 265 

Edward Coles, a proclamation, September 8: convening 

the General Assembly in special session .... 266 

Edward Coles to Daniel Hay, September 17: matter of 

pardon — case of Cotner and of two Shipleys ... 185 

Verdict against Edward Coles in suit with the Commis- 
sioners of Madison County, September 21 .... 208 

Reason for a new trial advanced by Edward Coles in the 
suit against the Commissioners of Madison County, 
September 21: 209 

Reasons for a new trial, advanced by Edward Coles' Sep- 
tember 22: 209 

Edward Coles to Morris Birkbeck, September 22: offer 

of appointment as secretary of state 158 

Morris Birkbeck to Edward Coles, October 9: acceptance 

of appointment as secretary of state 159 

Edward Coles, governor's message, November 16: rem- 
edy for law providing for election of presidential 
electors — enforcement of contracts — state bank — 
abolition of slavery — state waterways — seminary 
lands — code of law 267 

Edward Coles to Thomas Cox and Pascal Enos, Decemr 

ber 9: reservation of seminary lands 4:68 

Edward Coles to Daniel Cook, December 9: memorial on 

Illinois-Michigan Canal 4:69 



LIST OF COLES MATERIAL 407 

Edward Coles to John McLean and Jesse Thomas, De- 
cember 9: memorial on Illinois-Michigan Canal. . 4:69 

Morris Birkbeck to clerk of Greene County, December 9: 

election of sheriff 4:70 

Edward Coles to Marquis de Lafayette, December 9: 

testimonial enclosed — invitation to Illinois . . . 4:70 

Edward Coles to George Graham, December 16: reserva- 
tion of seminary lands 4:72 

Edward Coles to Daniel Cook, December 30: memorial 

on public lands 4:73 

Edward Coles to Jesse Thomas and John McLean, De- 
cember 30: memoria' on public lands enclosed . . 4:73 

1825 

Edward Coles to Daniel Cook, January 13: memorial on 

Indians enclosed 4:73 

Edward Coles to John McLean and Jesse Thomas, Jan- 
uary 13: memorial on Indians enclosed .... 4:74 

Edward Coles to the President of the United States, 
January 20: report on Illinois-Michigan Canal en- 
closed 4:74 

Edward Coles to Daniel Cook, January 20: report on 

Illinois-Michigan Canal enc'osed 4:75 

Edward Coles to John McLean and Jesse Thomas, Jan- 
uary 20: report on Illinois-Michigan Canal enclosed 4:75 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Indiana, January 20: 
act incorporating Wabash Navigation Company en- 
closed . * 4:75 

Bond of Edward Coles to Commissioners of Madison 

County, January 31: 210 

Certificate of Joseph Conway to bond of Edward Coles, 

February 4 211 

Plea of Edward Coles for dsscontinuance of action of 
Commissioners of Madison County, March term of 
Circuit Court: 211 

Plea of Edward Coles for recording of bill of exceptions, 

March term of Circuit Court: 212 



408 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Bill of Exceptions advanced by Edward Coles, March 

term of C rcuit Court 213 

Edward Coles to George Graham, March 10: school fund 

due state . 4:76 

Edward Coles to Richard Hamilton, April i : bond of 

Stat I ank cash ers 4:76 

Edward Coles to Sidney Breese, April i: examination o'' 

cashier's bond 4:77 

Edward Coles to Edward Mundy, April 7: bond of state 

bank cashiers 4:78 

Edward Coles to cashier of Shawneetown bank, April 7 : 

bond of state bank cashier ... 4:78 

Edward Coles to John Robinson, April 7: examination of 

cashier's bond 4:79 

Edward Coles to Circuit Attorney of Fourth Judicial 

Circuit, April 7: examination of cashier's bond . . 4:79 

Edward Coles to Alexander Miller, April 7: investigation 

of Shawneetown bank 4-79 

Edward Coles to E. B. W. Jones, April 7: investigation 

of Shawneetown bank 4:80 

Edward Coles to Elijah Berry, April 9: report on state 

bank required 4:81 

Marquis de Lafayette to Edward Coles, April 12: invita- 
tion to Coles to meet him at Kaskaskia or Shawnee- 
town 188 

Edward Coles to Edward Mundy, April 17: bond not 

accepted 4:82 

Edward Coles to James Barbour, April 20: boundary 

dispute with Michigan Territory 4:82 

Edward Coles to the Governor of the Territory of Michi- 
gan, April 20: boundary dispute with Michigan 
Territory 4:83 

Edward Coles to Marquis de Lafayette, April 28 : arrange- 
ments for a meeting 189 

Edward Coles to Alexander Miller, May 23: commis- 
sioned bank cashier — bond 4:84 

Edward Coles to the acting Governor of Indiana, May 
25: Wabash-Erie Canal urged — incorporation of 



LIST OF COLES MATERIAL 409 

Wabash Navigation Company 4:84 

Opinion of Supreme Court of Illinois in suit of Edward 

Coles versus the County of Madison, June term . . 213 

Edward Coles to the governors of the different states, 

June 5: copies of state law transmitted — interchange 

requested 4:87 

Edward Coles to George Graham, June 15: act on free 

schools enclosed 4:87 

Edward Coles to George Graham, June 15: selection of 

seminary lands 4:87 

Edward Coles to Thomas Tucker, June 15: school fund 

received 4:88 

Edward Coles to the governors of the different states, 

June 15: resolution on colonization of negroes . . 4:88 
Edward Coles to Adolphus Hubbard, June 22: notifica- 
tion of intended absence 4:89 

Edward Coles to Shawneetown bank cashier, June 30: 

semi-annual reports of branch banks 4:89 

Edward Coles to Brownsville bank cashier, June 30: 

semi-annual reports of branch banks 4:90 

De Witt Clinton to Edward Coles, October 10: Michigan 

and Illinois Canal 56 

Edward Coles to William Clark, October 27: Indian 

troubles in Sangamon County 4:91 

Edward Coles to James Johnson, November i : education 

in Illinois — school fund — seminary lands — private 

academies — internal improvements 4:92 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Indiana, November 4: 

action of Indiana on Wabash River 4:95 

1826 

Edward Coles to Daniel Cook, January 30: memorial on 

Illinois-Michigan Canal 4:95 

Edward Coles to Jesse Thomas and Elias Kane, January 

30: memorial on Illinois-Michigan Canal .... 4:95 

Edward Coles to Roberts Vaux, February 8: attempt of 
Lieutenant-Governor Hubbard to usurp govern- 
ment — suit instituted against Coles 178 



410 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Edward Coles to E. Brigham, February 15: guardian of 

seminary lands appointed 4:95 

Edward Coles to George Hackett, February 15: guardian 

of seminary lands appointed 4:96 

Public letter of Edward Coles, March 4: investigation of 

Edwardsville bank 4:99 

Edward Coles to Thomas Coville, March 14: saline dis- 
covered — lease of saline 4:96 

Edward Coles to Isaac Morgan, April 4: appointment of 

guardian of seminary lands 4:98 

Edward Coles to James Mason, June 20: information on 

canal-loan desired 4:99 

Edward Coles to Henry Dodge, June 20: information on 

canal-loan desired 4:101 

Edward Coles to David Ogden, June 20: information on 

canal-loan desired . . . . 4:103 

Edward Coles to J. Smith, June 20: information on canal- 
loan desired 4:104 

Edward Coles to Thomas Smith, June 20: information on 

canal-loan desired 4:104 

Edward Coles to Nicholas Hansen, July 5: appointment 

as judge of probate court of Pike County .... 79 

Edward Coles to John Rutherford, July 5: congratula- 
tions on election to legislature — slave laws in Vir- 
ginia 182 

Edward Coles to George Graham, July 20: reservation of 

seminary lands — school fund due state 4:105 

Edward Coles to William Hamilton, July 26: examination 

of seminary lands 194 

James Mason to Edward Coles, July 30: report on canal- 
loan 4:106 

Edward Coles to A. Cowles, August 16: investigation of 

dismissal of indictment of Judge McRoberts . . . 181 

Edward Coles to cashiers of state bank, August 25: inves- 
tigation of state bank 4:107 

Edward Coles to Thomas Cox and Pascal Enos, Septem- 
ber 5 : reservation of seminary lands 4:108 



LIST OF COLES MATERIAL 411 

Edward Coles to James Barbour, September 8: state 

militia 4:109 

Edward Coles to Willis Hargrave, September 30: report 

on Gallatin Saline desired 4:111 

Edward Coles to the Governor of Tennessee, September 

30: requisition for murderer 4:112 

Edward Coles to Henry Eddy, November 3: examination 

of cashier's bond 4*ii3 

Edward Coles to Richard Rush, November 15: silk indus- 
try in Illinois 4:113 

Edward Coles to George Graham, November 30: reserva- 
tion of seminary lands 4:115 

Edward Coles, governor's message, December 5: pros- 
perity of country — death of Jefferson and Adams — 
digest of laws — criminal code — state bank — taxation 
— salines — state loans 277 

Edward Coles to Henry Eddy, December 9: discontin- 
uance of Illinois Gazette requested 288 

Nicholas Hansen to Edward Coles, December 23 : prob- 
able abolishing of circuit courts — agency at Peoria 81 

1827 
Edward Coles to Thomas Sloo, February 15: payment of 
land registers — appointment of Indian agent at 
Peoria — proposed visit to Philadelphia . . . . . 289 

1838 
Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, July 8 : business matters 292 

1839 

Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, May 10: business mat- 
ters 293 

Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, November 5: failure of 
Prickett to pay expected visit — business matters — 
payment of taxes 293 

1840 
Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, June 12: business mat- 
ters — enclosure to A. J. Lusk 295 



412 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, September 4: business 

matters — proposed visit to relatives 298 

1841 

Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, November 4; business 

matters 300 

1842 

Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, September 2: business 

matters 301 

Edward Coles to Joseph Gillespie, November 15: busi- 
ness matters 303 

Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, December 20: business 

matters 304 

1843 

Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, May 1 1 : proposed visit 

to Edwardsville — business matters 307 

Edward Coles to Isaac Prickett, June 24: business mat- 
ters 308 

1851 

George Churchill to the Editor of the Bureau Advocate^ 
May 2: correction of errors appearing in Ford's 
History of Illinois 316 

1854 

Hooper Warren, an editorial in the Free West, December 
21, comment of Ford's History of Illinois — relation 
of Edward Coles to anti-slavery movement of 1823- 
1824 — early newspapers of Illinois 310 

Hooper Warren, an editorial in the Free fVest^ December 
28: Hansen-Shaw affair in the legislature — Justices 
Phillips and Reynolds of the Illinois Supreme Court 
— appointment of Morris Birkbeck as secretary of 
state 320 



LIST OF COLES MATERIAL 413 

1855 

John Mason Peck to Hooper Warren, March 24: state- 
ment concerning histories of Illinois — proposed work 
on "The Moral Progress of the Mississippi Valley" 323 

John Mason Peck to Hooper Warren, March 26: rela- 
tions between Hooper Warren and Edward Coles — 
— emancipation of Slaves by Edward Coles . . . 328 

John Mason Peck to Hooper Warren, March 27: slavery 
struggle in Illinois — supply of anti-slavery pamph- 
lets — contribution of funds — -appointment of David 
Blackwell as secretary of state 332 

Edward Coles to John Mason Peck, April 30: correction 
of errors made by Hooper Warren in editorials in the 
Spectator 352 

Hooper Warren to John Mason Peck, May 3: relation 
with Mr. Peck — latter's stand on slavery question — 
personal attitude toward Edward Coles .... 337 

Hooper Warren to John Mason Peck, May 10: guber- 
natorial election, 1822 — relations with Edward Coles 344 

John Mason Peck to editors of Free West, May 25: 
encloses letter from Edward Coles answering charges 
of Hooper Warren 351 

Hooper Warren to John Mason Peck, June 29: explana- 

tion<of former editorials . 2S^ 

1856 
Edward Coles, June 9: History of the Ordinance of 1787 376 

1858 

Edward Coles to William Barry, June 25: disposition of 

documents — reminiscences of Morris Birkbeck . . 364 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Abolition Society of Philadelphia, un- 
popular in Illinois, 124. 

Adams, John, death, 192, 278-279, 

Adams, John Q., 98, 290; acquaintance 
with Birkbeck, 366; appoints Kin- 
kade postmaster, 92; vote for, I57n. 

Adams, Sarah F., daughter of Benjamin 
Flower, iiBn. 

Advertiser and Upper Mississippi Herald 
(Galena), Warren employed on, Jion. 

Agricultural Society, Birkbeck first 
president, i4on; Coles asks support 
for, 56; internal improvements, 56. 

Agriculture, best method for prairies, 
255-259. 

Albany (N.Y.), 80. 

Albemarle County (Va.), 66, 164, 299; 
birthplace Edward Coles, 18. 

Albion, 99n, 140, 372; antislavery press 
proposed, 119, 120, 144, 145; county 
seat, ii8n. 

Alexander, Emperor, 37; invites Mor- 
eau's aid against Napoleon, 98n. 

Alexander, Samuel, contradictory votes, 
Shaw election, 77; vote on conven- 
tion resolution, 53. 

Alexander, William M., 100; bars re- 
consideration of convention resolu- 
tion, 74; speaker of House of Repre- 
sentatives, 53. 

Alexander County, 266; members in 

^legislature, 53, 103; vote on conven- 

ption resolution, 156. 

Allen, James C, 99n, 104. 

Alton, 310; Lovejoy murder, 88. 

Alton Historical Society, lends material 
to J. M. Peck, 6, 365; receives his- 
torical material from Edward Coles, 
6, 365. 



Amenia (N.Y.), 323n. 

American Baptist Publication Society, 

Peck's interest in, 323n. 
American Bottom, 94. 
Annals of the West, 323n, 325. 
Archer, William S., 18. 
Arnold, Hon. I. N., proposes memoir of 

Edward Coles, 5. 
Assembly, General, see legislature. 
Atlas, 78, 80. 
Australia, Birkbeck's widow removes to, 

97. 

Baldwin, Henry, 18. 

Bank of Edwardsville, see Edwardsville, 
bank. 

Banking, 145, 156, 345; Coles on, 54-55, 
269-270, 282-284. 

Bankson, Andrew, 99; signs anticon- 
vention appeal, 86; sketch, 90; vote 
on convention resolution, 52. 

Barker, Lewis, vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

Barnet, , 301. 

Barney, Benjamin, on Hansen, 80. 

Barry, William, 364. 

Barry, , 80. 

Beaird, Joseph A., 100; convention 
address committee, 107; convention 
leader, 138; vote on convention reso- 
lution, S3- 

Belhumer, Francis, 248. 

Belleville, 89, 99n, 312, 323, 326; center 
antislavery operations, 233} 334- 

Bellevue, io7n; outlaws at, io6n. 

Belonge, Raphael, 247, 

Benton, Thomas, 389. 

Benton, Colonel, editor St. Louis En- 
quirer, 231- 



417 



418 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



Beresford, 



vote on slavery 



clause of Northwest Ordinance, 380. 

Berlin (Germany), Coles visits, 38. 

Berlin, (Wis.), 65. 

Bernard, Etienne, land claim, 225; 
witness, 226, 234. 

Berry, Elijah C, connection with 
Illinois Intelligencer, 315. 

Berry, William, connection with Illinois 
Intelligencer, 315, 335n, 358, 359; 
letter from Coles on use of titles, 55; 
vote on convention resolution, 53. 

Bertrand, Mary, land claim, 249-250. 

Bertrand, Simon, land claim, 249-250. 

Biddle, Nicholas, 147; in Pennsylvania 
State Senate, 30; 

letter from: Coles, on convention, 
120-123, 130-132; 

letter to: Coles, on convention, 123; 
on election to Congress, 32-34; on 
Hartford amendments, 34-35; on 
War of 1 81 2, 30-31, 31-32; concern- 
ing Vaux, 123-124; introducing Vaux, 
124-125; 
president United States Bank, 30. 

Binet, Louis, 244, 245, 250, 251, 252. 

Birkbeck, Morris, 134; asked to manage 
Washington estate, 366-367; Coles 
memoir on, 364-376; in convention 
contest, 374; death, 161, 323, 375; 
founder of English settlement of 
Edwards County, i88n; Freeman 
letters, 151, 153, 314, 322, 374; 
historical writings, 369; 

letter from: Coles, appointment as 
secretary of state, 158-159; on hos- 
tility to Coles, 148-151; on press, 
land prices, antislavery literature, 

143-147; 

letter to: Coles, accepts appoint- 
ment as secretary of state, 159-160; 
on Coles suit, 1 51-153; on inaugural 
speech, 54n; on slavery, 141-143, on 
tracts, 147-148; 

nomination rejected, 160, 322-323, 
375; president of State Agricultur- 
al Society, 373; relation to Gilbert 



Pell, 96-97; removes to United States, 
367-369; secretary of state, 158-160, 
322-323, 374-375; settles in Illinois, 
370-372; sketch, 139-141; on slavery, 

141, 142. 

Bisson, Louis, 238. 

Black Code, 70, 139-194. See also 
slavery. 

Black Hawk War, 199, 311; Bankson 
captain in, 90; Stillman's Run, 96. 

Blackwell, David, 153, 181, 266, 267, 
314; elected speaker, 93 ; resigns sec- 
retaryship of state, 158, 374; secre- 
tary of state, 335-336. 

Blackwell, Robert, connection with 
Illinois Intelligencer, 315-316, 335- 

23(>, 335", 358, 359. 

Blakeman, Curtiss, signs anticonvention 
appeal, 86; sketch, 97; vote on con- 
vention resolution, 53. 

Bland, Colonel, 25. 

Blondeau, Drezy, witness, 230, 231, 238, 
239, 249. 

Blondeau, John Baptiste, 238, 239, 250; 
land claim, 248-249. 

Blount, William, vote on Ordinance of 
1787, 382. 

Bonaparte, Joseph, 34. 

Bond, Shadrach, 78 138, 191, 322, 345; 
connected with Republican Advocate, 
137; election of successor, 50. 

Bond County, 86, 94, 266; members in 
legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Boon, William, vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

Bouche, , 235. 

Boucher, Francis, 248. 

Boucher, Josephte, lan^ claim, 248. 

Breese, Sidney, 102, 19 J; candidate for 
Congress, 196. 

British Isles, Coles visits, 38. 

Brown, William H., 321; connection 
with Illinois Intelligencer, 315, 316, 
33Sy 335", 358-359; on convention 
struggle, 112; on Hansen, 79; letter 
from Coles, on use of titles, 55; 



INDEX 



419 



Brown, William H. (cont.), president of 
Chicago Historical Society, 112. 

Brown, W. W., leader of outlaws, loyn. 

Browne, Erastus, debtor to Edwards 
ville bank, 265. 

Browne, Thomas C, 82; associate 
justice of supreme court, 51; candi 
date for governor, 51, 66, 318, 345, 
346; proslavery, 51; justice of 
supreme court, 158,364. 

Brownsville (Pa.), 43. 

Buche, Francis, land claim, 248. 

Burbonne, Antoine, land claim, 251, 
252; witness, 240-241, 242, 247, 249. 

Bureau Advoca e (Princeton), 316, 317, 
320. 

Cadwell, George, signs anticonvention 
appeal, 86; sketch, 94; vote on con- 
vention resolution, 52. 

Cahokia, Widen in, 89. 

Cairnes, Abraham, 99; signs anti- 
convention appeal, 86; sketch, 90; 
vote on convention resolution, 53, 92. 

Cairo, Warren employed at, 3 ion. 

Calhoun County, 64, 78. 

California, iSgn; approves Ordinance 

of lySy* 392. 

Cambridge (Mass.), i89n. 

Campbell, James, contradictory votes, 

Shaw election, 77; vote on conven- 
tion resolution, 53. 
Canada, 385. 

Canals, see agricultural society. 
Capital punishment, 281. 
Carrington, Edward, 381; vote on 

Ordinance of 1787, 382. 
Carsereau, dit Fontaine, Josette, land 

claim, 243. 
Carville, C, tracts proposed by, 179- 

180. 
Carville, G., tracts proposed by, 179- 

180. 
Casey, Zadoc, 100; convention leader, 

138; vote on convention resolution, k,^. 
Castion, Joseph, 236. 
Caton, John D., on Coles, 197-198. 



Cerr^, Gabriel, land claim, 227, 228. 

Cerr^, Pascal, land claim, 227, 228. 

Champlaine, John Baptisfe, 236, 240; 
witness, 237. 

Charleston (S. C), Coles visits, 2^. 

Chase, Samuel, on committee for organ- 
ization of Northwest Territory, 377- 

378, 379- 

Chatellerean, Louis, 233, 234, 235; land 
claim, 227, 228. 

Chester, 90. 

Chevalier, Pascal, 226. 

Chicago, 197; fire, Ii8n. 

Chicago Historical Society, 15, 79, 156; 
Brown president, 112; gift from 
George Flower, ii8n; memoir of 
Birkbeck, 364, 365; resolution con- 
cerning Sketch of Edward Coles, 5. 

Chorette, , 227, 228, 236, 24a, 

Churches, Baptist, 95, 139; Episcopal, 
88; Methodist, 88, 89, 139; opposi- 
tion to slavery, 112, 139, 334, 

Churchill, Charles, 99n, 153. 

Churchill, George, 314, 315, 321, 340; 
burned in effigy, 88; on resolution to 
unseat Hansen, 76; signs anticonven- 
tion appeal, 86; sketch, 98, 98n, 3i6n- 
3i7n; vote on convention resolution, 

S3' 
Cicare, Antoine, witness, 239. 
Cicare, Louis, 244. 
Cincinnati, 166. 
Circuit court, suit against Coles, see 

Edward Coles. 
Clark, George Rogers, claims Illinois for 

Virginia, 61. 
Clark, Captain, 228. 
Clark County, 95, 200, 266; members in 

legislature, 53; vote on convention 

resolution, 156. 
Clarke, Abraham, vote on Ordinance of 

1787, 382. 
Clay, Henry, 344, 352; friend of George 

Flower, ii8n; vote for, I57n. 
Clinton, DeWitt, 54n; letter to Coles, 

on canal scheme, 56-57. 



420 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



Cobb, Thomas, 210, 353, 362; freed, 
206. See also Edward Coles. 

Cobbett, , Ii8n. 

Coinoi, Louis, witness, 235, 236. 
Coles, Edward, as administrator, 194- 
195; appeal against convention, 85; 
attitude toward slavery, 20, 23-24, 
28-29, 41, 46, 47, 85-86, 119, 122, 
182-184, 270-271, 281-282, 329; 
birth, 18, 329; calls meeting of anti- 
convention forces, 84; candidate for 
congress, 195-196; candidate for 
governor, 50, 345; convenes legisla- 
ture in special session, 266-267; 
death, 200-201; 

education: classmates, 18; colleges, 
18, 330; ideas on slavery, 20; 

family estate, 18; family prominent 
in Virginia, 18, 19; elected governor, 
51, 318; fights convention resolution, 
117. 138, 335-336, 393-394; History 
of the Ordinance 0/1787, 200, 376-398; 
hostility toward, 113-116; 149-151, 
168; Hubbard's attempted usurpa- 
tion, 175-176, 178-179; 

inaugural address: banking, 54; 
internal improvements, 56; slavery, 
57; effect, 57-58, 60, 70, 121, 313; 

inheritance, 20, 329, 330; interest in 
agriculture, 198; 

letter from: Biddle, on convention, 
123; on election to Congress, 32-34; 
on Hartford amendments, 34-35; 
concerning Vaux, 123-124; introdu- 
cing Vaux, 124-125; on War of 1 812, 
30-31, 31-32; Birkbeck, acceptance 
of appointment as secretary of state, 
159-160; on Coles suit, 151-153; on 
inaugural, 54n; on slavery, 141-143; 
on tracts, 147-148; Clinton, on canal 
scheme, 56-57; Crawford, on slavery, 
io8n; Hansen, on agency at Peoria, 
81-82; Lafayette, on proposed visit, 
188-189; McKee, on Pike County 
election, 66-67; Madison, 39; Vaux, 
7; on anticonvention victory, 174- 
175, offering services, 125-127; on 



possible meeting, 173-174; on tracts, 
129-130; 

letter to: Biddle, on convention, 
120-123, 130-132; Birkbeck, ap- 
pointment as secretary of state, 158- 
159; on hostility to Coles, I48-151; 
on press, land prices, antislavery 
literature, 143-147; Cook, on report 
on land claims, 253-255; Dodge, on 
breaking prairies, 255-259; Eddy, 
stops subscription to Gazette, 288-289; 
Flower, on convention, 11 8-1 20; 
Gillespie, on business matters, 303- 
304; Hamilton, on seminary lands, 
194-195; Hansen, on appointment as 
probate judge, 79-80; Hay, on par- 
doning power, 185; Illinois Intelli- 
gencer, on freeing slaves, 261-263; on 
use of titles, 55, 347-348; Jefferson, 
on slavery, 22-24, 28-30; Kane, on 
Edwardsville bank, 264-265; Lafay- 
ette, on proposed visit, 189-190; 
Loften, on hostility of legislature, 
115-116; Peck, on Warren's hostility, 
352-356; Prickett, on business, 292, 
293> 293-295, 295-297, 298-300 30a- 
301, 301-303, 304-307, 307-308, 308- 
310; Rutherford, on slavery, 182-184; 
Sloo, appointment as aid-de-camp, 
263-264; Sloo, on land office, political 
situation, 289-291; Stevenson, on 
Hubbard, 177; Vaux, 7; on conven- 
tion, 127-129, 133-134; on Hubbard's 
attempted usurpation, libel suit, 178- 
179; on emancipation suit, 166-170; 

libel suit against, 175, 179, 181; 
marries Sally Roberts, 199; meets 
Lafayette, 38; memoirs of Birkbeck, 
364-376; message to Senate, on 
request for certain papers, 113-114; 
messages, 267-277, 277-288; mission 
to Russia, 37-39, 41, 330; objects to 
aristocratic titles, 55; personality, 20, 
21, 49-50, 199-200, 338-339; private 
secretary to James Madison, 20, 2^, 
41, 330; property destroyed by fire, 
150; registrar Edwardsville land 



INDEX 



421 



Coles, Edward (cont.)j office, 48, 221- 
222, 222-225, 259-261; removal to 
Edwardsville, 42-47, 330; retirement 
from public life, 16; short residence 
in Illinois, 16, 198-199,350; sketch of 
life, 5, 6; 

slaves: 361-362; determines to free, 
41, 330; frees, 44, 149, 162, 164-165, 
206-207, 262-263, 312-313, 330-331, 
2S3-3i(>, 3^3\ given farms, 45, 149, 
169, 197, 262, 312, 331, 332, 355; 
inherits, 20, 330; obstacles to freeing 
in Virginia, 42; removes to Illinois, 
42-47, 149, 168,330-331; 

suit against, 149-150, 159, 162-169, 
356, 363-364; suit against, documents, 
205-221; travels through west, 1815, 
36; 181 8, 40, 330; tribute of Vaux, 
171-172; valedictory message, 192- 
193; visits Virginia, 120, 121, 198, 
291. 348, 349- 

Coles, Edward, Jr., 200; furnishes 
material for memoir of Edward Coles, 
5, 16. 

Coles, Isaac A., brother of Edward 
Coles, 349. 

Coles, John, father of Edward Coles, 18, 
19, 164; letter from Henry, 19. 

Coles' Grove, 78; county seat of Pike 
County, 65. 

Commercial Advertiser (Chicago), estab- 
lished, 3 ion. 

Commissioners of Madison County, see 
Madison County. 

Condier, Joseph, 249; land claim, 245. 

Congress, in War of 1812, 31. 

Connecticut, 93, 94, 138, 379, 381, 391; 
claims to Northwest Territory, 377. 

Constitution, change proposed, 58, 60, 
3^3i 359; convention for formation, 
40; manner of changing, 62, no, 393; 
object of change concealed, 70, 108, 
393; prohibits slavery, 59; right to 
alter, 60, 61. 

Contracts, inviolability, under Ordi- 
nance of 1787, 382; laws of, 269. 



Convention resolution, 392-394; address 
upholding, 106-108; anticonvention 
hand bill, 136; antislavery forces 
organize, 84, 138-140, 333-33'iy 393; 
antislavery leaders, 138; appeal 
against, 85-86, 108, 316; ballot, 156- 
157; before people, 110-112; Hansen's 
vote defeats, 74, 319; joint vote of 
houses proposed, 72; motion to re- 
consider, 74; necessary for change of 
constitution, 6^, 313, 319; passed by 
second vote, 77; proslavery celebra- 
tion, 83, 84, 319; proslavery leaders, 
138; slavery forces reorganize, 135- 
136; vote of legislature on, 52-53; 
vote of people on delayed till general 
election, no; vote of people, 155-156, 
394. See also correspondence of 
Coles, 1 1 8-134, Shaw, Hansen. 

Conway, Joseph, in suit against Coles, 
164, 205, 209, 210, 211, 213 

Cook, Daniel P., 66, 82, 153, I57n, 290, 
345, 346; advises Coles concerning 
freeing slaves, 47, 162, 164, 355, 2(>3\ 
election to Congress, 340-341, 342, 
344j 359~36o; in convention^contest, 
329; in suit against Coles, 209-213; 
letter from Coles, on report on land 
claims, 253-255. 

Cotner, , reprieve, 185. 

Cottman, Thomas, 103. 

Coursoll, John M., 229, 238. 

CoursoU, Michael, 237, 238. 

Courts, changes in, 82, 276-277, 364. 

Covington, (Ky.), 323n. 

Cowles, A., 299; in libel suit against 
Coles, 181. 

Cox, Thomas, sketch, io6n-io7n. 

Craig, , 132. 

Craig, Captain, destroys Peoria, 224, 
229, 234, 237, 238 243, 246, 248, 249. 

Craw, ,319. 

Crawford, Kate, 210, 295, 297, 299, 303; 
freed, 206. 

Crawford, Polly, 210; freed, 206. 

Crawford, Ralph, 210; freed, 206; in 
charge of other slaves, 43. 



422 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



Crawford, Robert, 210, 293, 295, 297, 

299, 300, 301, 303, 307, 310, 332, 

353. 362; freed, 206. 
Crawford, William, 290, 291; vote for, 

15711; Coles report to, 222-253; o" 

introduction of slavery into Illinois, 

io8n. 
Crawford County, 66, 77, 90, 91, 95, 

266; members in legislature, 53, 92; 

vote on convention resolution, 156. 
Crozier, Samuel, vote on convention 

resolution, 52. 
Currency, see banking. 

Daimwood, J. G., contradictory votes, 

Shaw election, 77; vote on convention 

resolution, 53. 
Dallas, Alexander J., 31. 
Dane, Nathan, 381 ; claim to authorship 

of Ordinance of 1787, 384-385; vote 

on Ordinance of 1787, 382. 
Dashkoff, Russian minister to Washing- 
ton, 38. 
Davenport, James S., contradictory 

votes, Shaw election, 77; vote on 

convention resolution, 53. 
Davenport (la.), I07n. 
Defond, John Baptiste, 236, 242, 246. 
Defond, Louis, 236, 252. 
Dcjeney, Joseph, 237. 
De Lancey, Bishop, marries Coles, 199. 
Delaware, 87, 102, 380, 382. 
Dement, Henry D., 99n. 
Democrats, loi, 102. 
Demonchelle, John, 249, 250. 
Demonchelle, Josette, land claim, 245. 
Dent, William, father-in-law of Risdon 

Moore, 88. 
Des Champs, Antoine, 230, 231, 242- 

243, 244; witness, 237. 
De Witt, Charles, vote on slavery clause 

of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 
De Witt County, 96. 
Dick, Samuel, vote on slavery clause of 

Northwest Ordinance, 379. 
Dodge, Henry S., letter from Coles on 

breaking prairies, 255-259. 



Dorriss, Thomas, contradictory votes, 
Shaw election, 77; vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

Dresden, Moreau wounded at, 98n. 

Duncan, Joseph, I57n; candidate for 
Congress, 196; on Birkbeck, 150. 

Dupr^, Francis, 249, 250. 

Eddy, Henry, 356; connection with 
Illinois Gazet e, I53n; •etablishes 
Illinois Emigrant, 314; letter from 
Coles, stops subscription to Gazette, 
288-289. 

Edgar, General, 191. 

Edgar County, 96, 200, 266; members 
in legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Eddyville (Ky.), 94 

Education, Coles on, 187, 274-275; 
funds, 287; under Ordinance of 1787, 
382. See also seminary lasds. 

Edwards, B. F., 293, 294-296, 298 299, 
305. 306, 308, 309. 

Edwards, John L., son-in-law of Widen, 
90. 

Edwards, Ninian, 79, 99n, loi, 186, 
264, 340, 341, 342, 343, 346; candidate 
for governor, 176; in convention con- 
test, 313-314, 3'^% 356, 359, 360; 
Edwards County named for, Ii7n; 
election of successor, 268; foreign 
mission, 173; letter from Monroe, 
introducing Coles, 40-41; as political 
canvasser, 50; resigns seat in Senate, 
177, i86n. 

Edwards County, 86, 96, 97, 266, 375; 
debt to Birkbeck, 140; members of 
legislature, 53; sketch, Ii7n-ii8n; 
vote on convention resolution, 156. 

Edwardsville, 102, 118, 163, 166, 198, 
294, 295, 301, 302, 307, 308, 3^3> 342, 
346, 348, 358; antislavery society, 97; 
bank, debtors of, 264-265; Coles 
arrives, 43; land office, 48; press, 137, 
144; sale of public lands 221-222. 

Edwardsville Spectator. 151, 334, 341, 
346, 347, 358; anticonvention news- 



INDEX 



423 



Edwardsville Spectator (cont.), paper, 
137, 315, 316; Churchill's connection 
with, 3i6n-3i7n; established, 3ion, 
315, 340; Warren unfriendly to Coles, 

137.315- 

Election of 1822, candidates for gover- 
nor: Browne, 5, 66, 318, 345, 346; 
Coles, 50-5 1, 318, 345, 346; 362-363; 
Moore, 51. 3^8, 345. 346; Phillips, 50, 
58, 66, 318, 345, 346, 362-363; 

lieutenant-governor, 52; slavery 
issue, 51-52, 57-58, 318, 346; vote, 
51, 52, 66, 318. See also Shaw, 
Hansen. 

Ellery, William, vote on slavery clause 
of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 

Emelin, John Baptiste, 227. 

Emmit, John, 319; contradictory votes, 
Shaw election, 77; vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

England, treaty with France, 61, 385, 
386 

Enniscorthy, Coles family estate, 18, 19, 

Enos, Pascal P., nomination as recorder 

for Fulton County, 115. 
Ewing, William L. D., 176. 

Farragut, David, 103. 

Fayette County, 266; members in the 

legislature, 53; vote on convention 

resolution, 156. 
Fever River, 64, 79; lead mines, i89n. 
Few, William, vote on Ordinance of 

1787,382. 

Fiailteau, Augustine, land claim, 233- 
235. 

Field, Alexander P., 100; convention 
address committee, 107; convention 
leader, 138; introduces resolution 
favoring joint vote, 72; moves to 
reconsider Hansen's election, 75; 
sketch, 102-105; vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

Flower, Benjamin, brother of Richard 
Flower, ii8n. 



Flower, George, 368; on Birkbeck, 154; 
schism with Birkbeck, 372; son of 
Richard Flower, ii8n. 

Flower, Richard, 145; founder of 
English colony of Edwards County, 
117; letter from Coles, on convention, 
1 1 8-1 20; sketch, Ii8n. 

Fontaine (Fountain) Felix, 250; land 
claim, 231, 242-244; witness, 230, 
248, 

Ford, R C, contradictory votes, Shaw 
election, 77; vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

Ford, Thomas, Caton on, 198; on con- 
vention struggle. III; History of 
Illinois, Warren on, 310-315, 356- 
357. Peck on, 325, Coles on, 353; 
Hubbard on, 177. 

Forquer, George, 82, 153, 176 

Forsyth, Thomas, 232; land claim, 226, 
228-230. 

Fort Chartres, 94. 

Fort Clark, new village of Peoria, 223, 
226, 241. 

Foster, , vote on slavery clause of 

Northwest Ordinance, 379. 

Fountain, Felix, see Fontaine. 

France, interest in Northwest Territory, 
385; treaty with England, 61; Widen 
in, 89. 

Frankfort (Ky.), 3ion. 

Franklin, Benjamin, 29. 

Franklin, Jesse, 389. 

Franklin County, 77, 266; members in 
legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Frazier, Robert, 99; sketch, 92; vote on 
convention resolution, 53, 86. 

Free West (Chicago), 347, 351, 352, 356, 
360; Warren employed on, 3ion, 337. 

Freeman, Jonathan, see Morris Birk- 
beck. 

French Canadians, early settlers, 60; 
right to slaves, 61. 

Fry, , 1 80. 

Fulton County, 266; members in legis- 
lature, $2\ nomination of recorder, 



424 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



Fulton County, (cont.)> 115; vote on 
convention resolution, 156. 

Gaines, Nancy, 210; freed, 207. 

Galena, 61; political meeting, 64. 

Gallatin, Albert, minister to France, 38. 

Gallatin County, 77, 266; members in 
legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Gallatin Saline, 135, 286-287. 

Garnett, James M., 389. 

Gasharit Island, 94. 

Gatinan River, 230, 240, 241. 

Gautier, Abh6, ii8n. 

Gear, Captain, anecdote, 61. 

General Assembly, see legislature. 

Genius of Liberty, (Lowell), 321; Warren 
employed on, 3 ion. 

Genius of Universal Emancipation, 146. 

Georgia 380, 381, 382, 394. 

Gerry, Elbridge, vote on slavery clause 
of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 

Gilead, 78. 

Gillespie, Joseph, 88n, 156, 196, 299, 
305, 307; letter from Coles, on busi- 
ness matters, 303-304; sketches of 
members of legislature, 97; on slavery 
situation in Illinois Territory, 61-62. 

Gillhams, , debt to Coles, 299, 

300-301, 302, 307, 308, 310. 

Governor, messages, 267-277, 277-288; 
nominations, 113-114; use of titles, 
55. See also Edward Coles, Shadrach 
Bond, De Witt Clinton, Thomas 
Ford, John Reynolds. 

Grammar, John, on slavery, 61-62; vote 
on convention resolution, ^^^ 

Grand Bois, Antoine, 247. 

Grant, James, anecdote, I07n. 

Graveline, Joseph, witness, 225. 

Grayson, William, vote on Ordinance of 
1787, 382. 

Graza, Baptiste, witness, 327. 

Great Lakes, canal scheme, 56. 

Greathouse, John S,, deed, 298, 299, 
309. 



-, accompanies Coles west' 



Green, - 

43- 
Greene County, 72, 95, loi, 266; 

members in legislature, 52; vote on 

convention resolution, 156. 
Greenup County (Ky.), 96. 
Greenville (Tenn.), Genius of Universal 

Emancipation, 146. 
Guilford Court House (N.C.), 88. 
Gunoille, , 247. 

Habeas corpus, under Ordinance of 
1787, 382. 

Hager, Albert D., secretary of Chicago 
Historical Society, 5. 

Hall, James, connection with Illinois 
Emigrant, 31 4. 

Hamburg, 64. 

Hamilton, Alexander, i89n, i9on. 

Hamilton, William S., letter from Coles, 
on seminary lands, 194-195; meets 
Lafayette, 189-190; pro tern appoint- 
ment as judge of probate, 82; sketch, 
i89n-i9on 

Hamilton County, 266; members in 
legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Hampden Sidney, Coles attends, 18. 

Hancock County (Ga.), 88. 

Handy, , vote on slavery clause 

of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 

Hanks, , 147. 

Hansen, Nicholas, 53n, 319, 321; 

contest with Shaw: competitors, 
64; Pike county election, 66-67, 75; 
election contested, 68-69, 74> 320; 

contradictory vote, 73; disqualified 
for seat in legislature, 74-76; for joint 
vote of legislature, 72; letter from 
Coles, on appointment as probate 
judge, 79-80; letter to Coles, on 
agency at Peoria, 81-82; qualified as 
member of House from Pike County, 
64, 74; sketch, 78-82. 

Hardy, Samuel, vote on slavery clause 
of Northwest Ordinance, 380. 

Hargrave, Willis, chairman of pro- 



INDEX 



425 



Hargrave, Willis (cont.)j slavery organ- 
ization, 135; convention leader, 138. 

Haring, John, vote on Ordinance of 
1787, 382. 

Harmony (Ind.), Birkbeck visits, 375; 
detracts from Birkbeck's settlement, 
372. 

Hartford (Conn.), 94. 

Harvard University, 323n. 

Hawkins, Benjamin, vote on Ordinance 
of 1787, 382. 

Hay, Daniel, letter from Coles on par- 
doning power, 185. 

Hennepin, Warren at, 3 ion. 

Henry, James, 381. 

Henry, Patrick, letter to John Coles, 19. 

Herald, (Rutland, Vt.), 3 ion. 

Hewitt, J. M., 324. 

Higbee, Chauncy L., 8 in. 

Hight, y 79. 

Highways, river systems open, 383, 384. 

Holton, Samuel, vote on Ordinance of 
1787, 382. 

Hopkins General, 67. 

House of Representatives, see legisla- 
ture. 

Howard, John, in suit against Coles, 
208, 209. 

Howell, David, on committee for organ- 
ization of Northwest Territory, 378, 
379; vote on slavery clause of North- 
west Ordinance, 379. 

Hubbard, Adolphus F., 91; attempts 
usurpation, 175-176; 178-179; can- 
didate for governor, 176; conven- 
tion leader, 138; elected lieuten- 
ant governor, 52. 66; proslavery, 52. 

Hubbardtown (Vt.), 3i6n. 

Hudson River, canal scheme, 56. 

Huger, Daniel, vote on Ordinance of 
1787, 382. 

Hunt, George, 99n. 

Hunter, Charles W., debtor to Edwards- 
ville bank, 264. 

Hunter, Major, 338. 

Illinois, population, 60. 



Illinois Emigrant {Illinois Gazette), in 
convention contest, 314-315. 

Illinois Gazette, 148, 151, 152, 374; con- 
vention newspaper, 137. See also 
Illinois Emigrant. 

Illinois Intelligencer, 346; becomes lead- 
ing anticonvention newspaper, 136- 
I37> 315-316, 33S-33^\ Blackwell 
editor, 137, 315; bought by Coles, 
137, 33S-33(>; file in State Historical 
Library, 366n; letter from Coles on 
freeing slaves, 26 1-263 '■> o" "se of titles, 
55> 347-348; management, 315-316. 

Illinois Michigan Canal, see internal im- 
provements. 

Illinois State Historical Library, file of 
Illinois Intelligencer, 366n. 

Illinois State Militia, 311; Hansen in, 
78, 79; returns, 275. 

Illinois Territory, ceded by Virginia, 
59; rights of citizens, 59. 

Immigrants, proslavery, 57-58, 60. 

Indenturing, see slavery. 

Indiana. 369, 387, 389, 391, 392; Coles 
visits, 36. 

Indians, under Ordinance of 1787, 382. 

Internal improvements, commissioner, 
loi; waterways, 56-57, 271-272, 287. 

Iowa, 90, io6n; supports Ordinance of 
1787, 392. 

Jackson, Andrew, 105, 290; appoints 
West minister to Mexico, 102; Lafay- 
ette visits, 189; saves convention men 
politically, 157-158; vote for, I57n. 

Jackson County, 77, io6n, 166; mem- 
bers in legislature, 53; outlaws in, 
io6n-io7n; vote on convention reso- 
lution, 156 

Jacksonville, 8 in, 99n. 

Jefferson. Thomas, 19, 38, 175, 349, 362, 
377j 395> 391'-> on committee for organ- 
ization of Northwest Territory, 377- 
378, 379; death, 192, 278-279; friend 
of George Flower, ii8n; letter from 
Coles on slavery, 22-24, 28-30; letter 
to Coles, on slavery, 24-27; minister 



426 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



Jefferson, Thomas (cont.), to France, 
380; Notes on Virginia, 146; report 
on Northwest Territory, 380, 
383-384; vote on slavery clause of 
Northwest Ordinance, 380. 

Jefferson County, 266; members in 
legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Jennings, Jonathan, antislavery leader 
in Indiana, 392. 

John Shaw, 64, 

Johnson, William S., 381. 

Johnson County, 266; members in legis- 
lature, 53, 103; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Jones, Martin, vote on convention reso- 
lution, 53 

Jones, Michael, vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

Jourdan, Francis, 234, 244, 250, 252; 
witness, 247. 

Jury, see trial by jury. 

Kane, Elias K., 191, 289, 345; candi- 
date for United States Representative, 
341-343, 359-360; convention leader, 
138; editor Republican Advocate, 137; 
election to United States Senate, 158; 
letter from Coles, on Edwardsville 
bank, 264-265. 

Kaskaskia, 66, 90, 93, 188, 254, 346, 
362, 377, 385; Coles visits, 36, 40; 
constitutional convention, 40; Cox at, 
106; press, 137. 144. 

Kean, John, 381; vote on Ordinance of 
1787, 382. 

Kearney, vote on Ordinance 

of 1787, 382. 

Kentucky, debtors to Edwardsville 
bank, 265; hard times, 145; immi- 
grants to Illinois, 60, 90, 94, 96, 102. 

Kickapoo Creek, 230. 

Kimmel, Singleton H., connection with 
Illinois Emigrant, 314 

King, Rufus, 384. 

Kinkade, A. G., son of William Kinkade, 
92. 



Kinkade, William, 99; on convention 
resolution, 71 91; signs anticonven- 
tion appeal, 86; sketch, 91; vote on 
convention resolution, 52. 

Kinney, William, 100; celebrates pas- 
sage of convention resolution, 83; 
convention address committee, 107; 
convention leader, 138; sketch. 100- 
loi; vote on convention resolution, 

53. 
Koerner. Gustave 88n, 99n. 

La Belle, Charles, 245, 246; land claim, 
249. 

Lablond, , 236. 

La Bonshier, Louis, 243, 245, 251, 252. 

La Bossieur, Louis, 237. 

La Claire, Antoine, 242; land claim, 
236-237; witness, 251. See also Le 
Claire. 

La Claire, Michael, witness, 233, 234. 
See also Le Claire. 

La Croix, Michael, 234, 235; land claim, 
237-238. 

Ladd, Milton, vote on convention reso- 
lution 53. 

Lafayette Marquis de, ii8n, 194; letter 
from Coles on proposed visit to Illi- 
nois, 189-190; letter to Coles, on 
proposed visit, 188-189; meeting 
with Coles, 38; visit to Illinois, 188- 
191; visit to Kaskaskia, 190. 

Laframboise, Joseph, 248. See also 
Leframbroise. 

Lalemmier, Frances, marries Widen, 89. 

Land office. Coles registrar, 48; impor-' 
tance of position, 48; McKee, clerk, 
66; small pay, 289-290. See also 
Edward Coles, Thomas Cox. 

Lapanc^, Antoine, 244, 247, 250, 252; 
land claim, 250-251; witness, 234, 
246. 

Lapattr6, Joseph, witness, 233, 235, 236, 
248. 

Lapierre, 235. 

Laroach, , 235. 

La Roche, Augustine, 234 253. 



INDEX 



427 



Lasteyrie, Count de, ii8n. 

Latham, Robert, debtor to Edwards- 

ville bank, 264. 
Latraille, Gabriel, land claim, 226, 234, 

235- 

La Vassieur, Pierre, dit Chamberlain, 
227, 229, 232, 237, 244, 249, 253; 
land claim, 233-234; witness, 242, 
243, 244, 245, 247, 248, 250-251. 

La Ville de Maillet, new village of 
Peoria, 223. 

Lawrence County, 266; members in leg- 
islature, 52, 53, 90, 91; vote on con- 
vention resolution, 156. 

Lawrenceville, Kinkade at, 92. 

Laws, digest, 275-276, 280. See also 
legislature. 

Lebanon, 90. 

Le Bonshier, see La Bonshier. 

Le Claire, Antoine, 249; witness, 244. 
See also La Claire. 

Le Claire, Michael, land claim, 247-248; 
witness, 239-240, 245. See also La 
Claire. 

Le Doux, Charles, 238, 239, 240. 

Lee, Richard H., 381; vote on Ordi- 
nance of 1787, 382. 

Leframbroise, Joseph, 235. See also 
Laframboise. 

Legislature, celebrates passage of con- 
vention resolution, 83; convenes 1 822, 
54; extra session, 185-186, message to, 
186-188; hostility to Coles, 113-116; 
joint vote proposed, 72; 

laws: act amending act of March, 
1 819, 211, 212; bond for every negro 
freed within state, 163, 204-206; 
every free negro to have evidence of 
freedom, 46; for election of president- 
ial electors, 265-266; releasing penal- 
ties under act of 18 19, 165; to author- 
ize hiring slaves from other states, 
391; to prohibit indenturing, 391; 

list of members, 52-53; message 
convening, 266-267; proslavery forces 
organize, 70, 71; proslavery in 1822, 
52; reconsiders Hansen's election, 76; 



signers of anticonvention appeal, 86; 
tyranny of proslavery forces, 71; two- 
thirds vote necessary to pass conven- 
tion resolution, 63, 70. See also con- 
vention resolution, Hansen, Shaw 

Letters from Illinois, Birkbeck's, 141. 

Lexington (Ky.), ii8n. 

Lincoln, Abraham, Caton on, 198. 

Lippincott, Thomas, 52, 153, 314, 315, 
338. 

Litchfield (Conn.), 323n. 

Little Miami, 377. 

Lockwood, Samuel D., 66, 82, 153, 176, 
314, 315, 319; Coles' lawyer, 207, 208, 
2i4n, 364; justice supreme court, 158; 
resigns as secretary of state, 335. 

Lofton, John G., letter from Coles, on 
hostility of legislature, 11 5-1 16. 

Logan, G. R., contradictory votes, Shaw 
election, 77; vote on convention reso- 
lution, 53. 

Logan County (Ky.), 96 

Lonigo, Charlotte, witness, 227. 

Los Angeles (Calif.), io7n. 

Louis XVIII, Coles presented to, 38. 

Louisiana, 233y 3^5, 396; Field attorney- 
general, 105; Field member of Con- 
gress from, 103. 

Louisville, Coles visits, 43. 

Lowery, William, 99; signs anticon- 
vention appeal, 86; sketch, 95-96; 
vote on convention resolution, 53. 

Lowry, William, see William Lowery. 

London, (England), Coles visits, 38. 

Lundy, Benjamin, Genius of Universal 
Emancipation, 146. 

Lusby, Thomas, 252; land claim, 235- 
237- 

Lusk, A. J., debt to Coles, 300, 301, 302, 
303. 30s, 306, 307. 

Lusk, J. T., debt to Coles, 293, 300, 301, 
302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307. 

Lyon, Matthew, 94. 

Lyon, Pamelia, wife of Cadwell, 94. 

Macdonald, D., ii8n. 



428 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



McFatridge, William, against joint vote 
of legislature; 72; changes vote, 73, 
319; position maintained, 70; sketch, 
73n; vote on convention resolution, 

S3- 

McFerron, John, contradictory votes, 
Shaw election, 77; vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

McGahey, David, 99; signs anticon- 
vention appeal, 86; sketch, 91; vote 
on convention resolution, 53. 

McGahey, James, son of David Mc- 
Gahey, 91. 

McHenry, James, vote on slavery 
clause of Northwest Ordinance, 380. 

Mcintosh, John, vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

McKee, Williami letter to Coles, on 
Pike County election, 66. 

McKi trick, Samuel, 156, 

McLean, John, candidate for Congress, 
340-341, 345; convention address 
committee, 107; convention leader, 
138; elected to United States Senate, 
158, i86n; United States representa- 
tive, 340. 

McRoberts, Samuel, connection with 
the RepuMican, 137; convention lead- 
er, 138; in emancipation suit against 
Coles, 165, 166, 212, 263, 364; in libel 
suit against Coles, 175, 179, 180-181. 

Madison, James, 18, 19, 30, 38, 42, 348, 
35i> 37i> 394, 39S, 397; appoints 
Coles private secretary, 20; letter to 
Coles, on Russian mission, 39; sends 
Coles on Russian mission, 37. 

Madison, Bishop, president William and 
Mary College, 18, 330. 

Madison County, 72, 76, 77, 94, 95 97, 
100, 266, 298, 300, 302, 304, 307, 
309; members of legislature, 52, 53; 
emancipation suit against Coles, 149- 
150, 159, 162-169, 356, 363-364, 
documents, 205-221; vote on conven- 
tion resolution, 156. 

Maillet, John Baptiste, 229, 232, 240, 
242; land claim, 225. 



Maillet, Hypolite, land claim, 245-247; 
witness, 229, 232, 233^ 234, 241, 242- 
243, 244, 247, 248, 250-257. 

Maine, see Missouri Compromise. 

Maquoketa, io7n. 

Maquoketa River, io6n. 

Marine 97. 

Marion County, 266; members in the 
legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Martin, , 300, 302, 305, 306, 

308,309,310. 

Maryland 368, 380, 381. 

Mason, James, 197, 308, 309, 335 

Massachusetts, 96, 379, 381, 382, 385. 

Mather, Thomas, 153, 191; on resolu- 
tion to unseat Hansen, 76; signs anti- 
convention appeal, 86; sketch, 92-94; 
vote on convention resolution, 53. 

Menard, Hypolite, 191; elected to 
House, 93. 

Menard, , Indian agent, 290. 

Menard County, 96. 

Mercer, James, vote on slavery clause of 
Northwest Ordinance, 380. 

Messinger, John, immigrates to Illinois, 
94; president antislavery society, 334. 

Mett6, Jacques 229; land claim, 226, 
232-233; witness, 230, 237, 244, 246, 
248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253. 

Mexico, Edwards minister to, 177. 

Miami River, 391. 

Michigan, supports Ordinance of 1787, 

392- 
Mifflin, Thomas, vote on slavery clause 

of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 
Militia, see Illinois State Militia. 
Miller, Alexander, 298. 
Miller, John S., early settler, at Whig 

political meeting, 1840, 64. 
Mineral Point (Wis.), i89n. 
Mississippi, 8in. 
Mississippi River 36, 64, 90, 94, I07n, 

383, 385, 396; canal scheme, 56. 
Missouri, 387, 388; Coles visits, 36; 

debtors to Edwardsville bank, 265; 

effect of immigration to on Illinois, 



INDEX 



420 



Missouri (cont.), 109, 388; land prices 
in, 145; voters in Shaw-Hansen elec- 
ion, 75. 

Missouri Compromise, 193, 233y 34°" 
341. 389. 396. 

Missouri Gazette, Churchill employed 
on, 31 6n; Warren employed on, 3 ion. 

Mitchell, Nathaniel, vote on Ordinance 
of 1787, 382. 

Mitchell, Samuel, connection with anti- 
slavery society, 334. 

Monroe, James, 19, 21, 31, 38, 377, 381, 
396, 397; appoints Coles registrar of 
land office, 48; 

letter to: consul of United States at 
St. Petersburg, 39; Edwards, intro- 
ducing Coles, 40-4 1. 

Monroe County, 89, 120, 266; members 
in legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Montgomery, Joseph, vote on slavery 
clause of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 

Montgomery, Captain, 228. 

Montgomery County, 266; members of 
the legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Montplaiser, Francis, 247. 

Moore, Charles, father of Risdon Moore, 
87. 

Moore, James B., candidate for gover- 
nor, 51, 318, 345, 346; major general 
of state militia, 51. 

Moore, Risdon, 99; signs anticonvention 
appeal, 86; sketch, 87-89; vote on 
convention resolution, 53, 92. 

Moore, Morton, and Company, 294, 300, 
304. 305. 308. 

Moreau, General, 97. 

Morgan County, 95, 266; first physician, 
94; members of legislature, 52; vote 
on convention resolution, 156. 

Morrison, William R., 99n. 

Morton and Company, Moore, see 
Moore, Morton, and Company. 

Muskingum River, 391. 

My Own Times, 84; quoted, 111-112. 



Napoleon, 97, 98. 

Nashville, (Tenn.), 99n, 322. 

National Crisis (Cincinnati, Ohio), War- 
ren employed on, 3 ion. 

Needles, L. B., 99n. 

Negroes, to be denied suffrage, 157; to 
be excluded, 157. See also Coles, 
slavery. 

New Albany (Ohio), 330, 331, 349. 

New Hampshire, 379, 381. 

New Harmony (Ind.), ii8n. 

New Jersey, 379, 381, 382, 391. 

New Orleans (La.), canal scheme, 56; 
Coles visits, 36; Field in, 102, 105; 
Lafayette in, 188. 

New York, 93, 100, i89n, 198, 379, 381, 
382, 394; canal scheme, 56; Hansen 
visits, 80. 

Newspapers, on convention, 131, 136- 
137, 144, 167, 314-316; of east on 
convention, 132. 

Norfolk (Va.), 368 

North Carolina, 380 381, 382; immi- 
grants to Illinois, 60. 

Northwest Territory, appropriations for 
troops, 377, 391; claims to, 377, 381; 
differences of sections, 391-393; 
framing of ordinance and Constitu- 
tion simultaneous, 394-395; forma- 
tion of states, 395; imperfection of 
records, 379; integral part of United 
States, 382; Jefferson's report, 378- 
379. 380, 383-384; Ordinance of 1787 
passed, 381-382; place of government 
adopted, 380; provision for French 
and Canadian inhabitants, 377; pro- 
visions of Ordinance, 382-384; slavery 
'"> 57) 59 61-62 386; slavery prohi- 
bited, 378-379. 379-380, 380-381, 
383.384.385-391- 

Northwestern Gazetteer (Galesburg) 316. 

Novelle (Lovel), Francis, 226. 

O'Fallen, John, 89; Coles agent, 298. 

Ogle Jacob, 99; signs anticonvention 
appeal, 86; sketch 89; vote on con- 
vention resolution, 53. 



430 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



Ogle, Joseph, father of Jacob Ogle, 89. 

Ogle County, 96. 

Ohio, 368, 388, 395; Coles visits, 2^; 
hard times, 145, 146; supports Ordi- 
nance of 1787, 392; land company, 
291. 

Ohio River, 43, 94, 381, 383, 385, 386, 
387; Coles frees slaves on journey 
down, 44 

Olney, 99n. 

Ordinance of 1787, see Northwest Terri- 
tory 

Oregon, territorial government, 396- 

397- 
Ottawa, 197. 

Outlaws, in Jackson county, io6n-io7n 
Owen, Robert, Birkbeck visits, 375. 

Paine, Ephraim, vote on slavery clause 
of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 

Palestine, 95. 

Palestine, (Te ) , 95 

Paris, 96, 99n. 

Paris (France), Coles visits, 38. 

Parke, Benjamin, 389 

Parker, Daniel, 99; signs anticonven- 
tion appeal, 86; sketch, 95; vote on 
convention resolution, 53. 

Parquette, , 251. 

Parties, no political, 50. See also con- 
vention resolution. 

Partridge, George, vote on slavery 
clause of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 

Peck, John M., 311; anecdote, loi; anti- 
convention leader, 138-139; Coles 
papers destroyed in house, 6, 365; 
historical writings, 323-325, 327-328, 
364; sketch, 323n, 337-338; 

letter from: Coles, on Warren's hos- 
tility, 352—356; Warren, on conven- 
tion contest, 337-344> 344-3 50j 35 I" 
356, 356-364; 

letter to: Warren, on Coles, 328- 
332, on convention contest, 332-337, 
on Illinois history, 323-328; 

on Ford's, Brown's and Reynold's 
histories, 325-326. 



Pell, Gilbert T., 140, 142, 145, 147; 
sketch, 96-97; signs anticonvention 
appeal, 86; vote on convention reso- 
lution, S3' 

Pencenneau, Louis, land claim, 244, 251, 
252-253. 

Pennsylvania, 29, 34, 43, 132, 368, 379, 
381; in War of 1812, 30; attitude on 
slavery, 122. 

Pennsylvania Historical Society, 200, 
376. 

Peoria, 96; destroyed by Captain Craig, 
224; land claims, 222-253, 253-255. 

Peoria Republican, extracts from Ford's 
history in, 313, 317. 

Perry County, 93. 

Pettit, Thomas McK., on Vaux, I25n. 

Philadelphia, 93, 120, 174, 291, 292, 298, 
302, 315, 394; Abolition Society, 124- 
125; Coles buried at, 201; Coles 
resides at, 199, 350; home of Edward 
Coles, Jr., 5, 15. 

Phillips, Alexander, vote on convention 
resolution, ^3- 

Phillips, Joseph, candidate for governor, 
50, 58, 66, 318, 345, 346, 362-363; 
celebrates passage of convention reso- 
lution, 83; chief justice of state, 50, 
321-322; convention leader, 138; pro- 
slavery, 50. 

Pierce, William, vote on Ordinance of 
1787, 382. 

Pike County, 78, 80, 8 in, 266; members 
in legislature, 53, 64; Shaw county 
commissioner, 65; Shaw leaves, 65; 
vote on convention resolution, 156. 

Pilette, Angelica, wife of Louis, 230. 

Pilette, Louis, land claim, 226, 230-231, 

243. 
Pinckney, Charles, 381. 
Pinkney, William, minister to Russia, 

37. 
Pittsburg (Pa.), 43. 
Pittsfield, 78, 8 in. 
Polk, James K., 396, 397. 
Pope, Nathaniel, 102, 191, 346, 362,363. 



INDEX 



431 



Pope County, 77, 266; members in 
legislature, 53; vote on convention 
resolution, 156. 

Post Vinsan, Vincennes, 62n, 

Prickett, Isaac, letter from Coles, on 
business, 292, 293, 293-295, 295-297, 
298-300, 300-301, 301-303, 304-307, 
307-308, 308-310, suit against, 303- 

304- 

Prometheus, 37, 38. 

Public lands, i89n, 221-222, 287; re- 
linquishment by debtors, 259-261. 

Public opinion, at Vandalia, 63; on con- 
vention, 131, 133, 135, 144, 146-147, 
I48, 167; on slavery, 193-194, 318. 

Pugh, Johnathan H., vote on conven- 
tion resolution, 53, 86, 153; sketch, 94. 

Purviance and Seybold, 292. 

Raboin, Baptiste, 250, 252; land claim, 

244. 253. 
Racine, Francis, Sen,, land claim, 240- 

241; witness, 242, 247, 251. 
Racine, Francis, Jr., 239, 240, 244; land 

claim, 242; witness, 236, 237, 241, 251. 
Randolph, John, against introduction of 

slavery into Northwest Territory, 

388. 
Randolph County, 76, 77, 86, 90, 92, 93, 

266; members in legislature, 52, 53; 

vote on convention resolution, 156. 
Rapp, George, founder of Harmony, 

372, 375- 

Rattan, Thomas, on joint resolution of 
legislature, 72-73; vote on convention 
resolution, 53, 319. 

Read, George, vote on slavery clause of 
Northwest Ordinance, 379-380. 

Registrar of land office, see Coles, Thom- 
as Cox, 

Religious freedom, under Ordinance of 
1787, 382, 

Renfro, Jesse, 88n, 

Representative, see legislature. 

The Republican, convention newspaper, 
137; Smith, West, McRoberts, man- 
age, 137. 



Republican Advocate, convention news- 
paper, 137; Kane, Reynolds, Bond 
managers, 137. 

Repudiation, 197-198. 

Revolutionary War, 87, 89; treaty with 
England, 61. 

Reynolds, John, 311, 323; on Birkbeck, 
i40n; on Cadwell, 94; candidate to 
United States Senate, 318; conven- 
tion leader, 138; on convention 
struggle, III-II2; on Hansen's dis- 
missal, 84; on Hansen's election to 
legislature, 68; historical writings, 
Peck on, 325-326; rival of Kinney, 
loi; in suit against Coles, 159, 163, 
166, 262,, 364. 

Reynolds, Thomas, celebrates passage 
of convention resolution, 83; chief 
justice, 321-322; connected with 
Republican Advocate, 137; convention 
address committee, 107. 

Rhode Island, 379, 381. 

Richland County, 92. 

Richmond (Va.), Birkbeck visits, 369. 

Richmond Enquirer, 339, 351. 

Roberts, Levi, on Shaw election, 76. 

Roberts, Sally L., marries Coles, 199. 

Robinson, Benaiah, Coles agent, 309. 

Robinson, James, 67. 

Robinson, John M., convention leader, 
138. 

Rock Creek, 96. 

Rockfish, Coles plantation, 42. 

Rock Spring, Peck settles at, 323n; 
seminary destroyed, 324, 

Rodney, Daniel, 389, 

Roi, Antoine, 241; land claim, 239-240. 

Roi, Simon, land claim, 238-239; wit- 
ness, 230, 235, 236, 240, 241, 244, 245. 
249, 250, 251. 

Roque, Augustine, land claim, 226 229. 

Ross, O. M., nomination as recorder of 
Fulton County, 11 5-1 16. 

Ross, William, 79. 

Russia, Coles mission to, 37-38 

Rutherford, John, letter from Coles, on 
slavery, 182-184. 



432 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



Rutland (Vt.)j 94. 

St. Charles (Mo ), 349. 

St. Clair County, 89, 90, 94, 96, 100, 
112, 120, 138, 266, 311, 326; anti- 
slavery society, 139, 333-33^^ mem- 
bers in legislature, 53, 88, 92, 93; 
vote on convention resolution, 156. 

St. Cyr, Hyacinthe, witness, 227, 228. 

St. Dennis, Antoine, witness, 238, 252. 

St. Francis, Antoine, 226, 227 

St. John, , 235. 

St. Lawrence River, 383. 

St. Louis, 94, 98, 103, 133, 298, 3 ion, 
33^y 33^ 349> 355» 37 1; Coles visits, 
36, 40, 132; Lafayette visits, 189; 
tracts sent to, 129, 166. 

St. Louis Enquirer, attacks Peck, 337. 

St. Marie, S^n. 

St. Petersburg (Russia), 37, 38. 

St. Vincents, see Vincennes 

Sale of lands, 133, 148, 221-222. 

Salines, 276, 286-287. 

Sangamo Spectator (Springfield), estab- 
lished, 3 ion. 

Sangamo County, 96, 106, 266; members 
of legislature, 52, 53, i89n; vote on 
convention resolution, 156. 

Savannah (Ga.), Coles visits, 36. 

Scheurman (Schureman), James, vote 
on Ordinance of 1787, 382. 

Schooleys Mountain (N. J.), Coles 
visits, 301. 

Scioto River, 377. 

Scott, Winfield, 18. 

Seminary lands, 194-195, 273-274, 
287-288. 

Senate, see legislature. 

Sentinel (Albany, N. Y.), Churchill's 
connection with, 3i6n. 

Seybold, Purviance and, 292. 

Shaw, John, 93, 319, 321; affidavit of 
election, 76; 

contest with Hansen: competitors, 
64; Pike county election, 66-67, 75; 
contests election, 68-69, 3^°; returns 
to Pike County, 69; 



Shaw, John (cont.), in Whig political 

meeting, 64; reinstated, 76-77; sketch 

of life, 65; 

vote on convention resolution, 53. 
Shawneetown, 188, 391; Coles visits, 36, 

40; press, 137, 144, 314. 
Shaw's Landing, 65. 
Sherman, Roger, vote on slavery clause 

of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 
Shipleys, case concerning, 185. 
ShurtlefF College, Peck's interest in, 

3'^3^- 

Sims, James, 99; signs anticonvention 
appeal, 86; sketch, 96; vote on con- 
vention resolution, 53. 

Sketch of Edward Co/es, assistance of 
Edward Coles Jr., 5; Elihu B. Wash- 
burne appointed to write, 5, 15; 
proposed, 5; valuable material de- 
stroyed, 6. 

Slavery, antislavery societies, 97, 333- 
334; Birkbeck on, 141, 142, 369; by 
indenturing, 62, 390; Coles on, 23-24, 
85-86, 119, 122, 182-184, 270-271, 
281-282, 329; determination to intro- 
duce, 58; effect on land prices 143, 
145-146; existence in state, 57, 59, 
61-62; influence outside state, 333, 
339-344> 359; literature on, 146; in 
Northwest Territory, 378-379, 379- 
380, 38c^38i, 383, 384, 385-389; 
public opinion on, 193-194; question 
in election of 1822, 50, 51, 52, 57-58. 
See also Black Code, Coles, conven- 
tion, constitution, Jefferson. 

Sloo, Thomas C, candidate for gover- 
nor, 176. 

Sloo, Thomas Jr., 100; 

letter from: Coles appointment as 
aid-de-camp, 263-264; on land office, 
political situation, 289-291; 

vote on convention resolution 53. 

Smith, D. B., 166. 

Smith, L L, 166. 

Smith, Melancton, 381; vote on Ordi- 
nance of 1787, 382. 



INDEX 



433 



Smith, Theophilus W., attacks Warren, 
137; celebrates passage of convention 
resolution, 83; connection with the 
Republican, 137, 348, 363; con- 
vention address committee, 107; 
report on governor's message, 313; 
justice supreme court, 158, 364; 
sketch, 100; vote on convention reso- 
lution, 52. 

Snow, Judge, 338. 

Snyder, William H., gpn. 

Soulard, Tousant, witness, 225, 226 

Souliere, Tousant, witness, 234, 235. 

South Carolina, 96, 380, 381, 382, 394. 

Spaight, D., vote on slavery clause of 
Northwest Ordinance, 379-380. 

Sparta (Ga.), 88. 

The Spectator, see Edwardsville Specta- 
tor, Sangamo Spectator. 

Springfield, 93, 94, 99n, io6n. 

Starr, Henry, Coles lawyer, 116, 207, 
208, 212, 364. 

State Agricultural Society, see Agricul- 
tural Society. 

State Bank of Illinois, errors of Ford's 
history concerning 317; Mather 
president, 93. 

State House, destroyed, 134, 150, 152, 
169; rebuilt, 276. 

State electoral districts 265-266. 

State library appropriation, 276. 

State penitentiary, need, 281. 

Stephenson, Benjamin, 222. 

Stevenson, Andrew, letter from Coles, 
on Hubbard, 177 

Stillman, Benjamin, father of Stephen 
Stillman, 96. 

Stillman, Isaiah, brother of Stephen 
Stillman, 96. 

Stillman, Stephen, 319; signs anti- 
convention appeal, 86; sketch, 96; 
vote on convention resolution, 52. 

Stone, Thomas, vote on slavery clause 
of Northwest Ordinance, 380. 

Supreme Court, opinion in suit of 
Edward Coles, 213-221, 363, 364; 
Smith member, 100. 



-, 8in. 



Swearingen, 

Sweden, Widen from, 89. 
Swinerton's Point, 95. 
Symmes, , 391. 

Tammany Hall, 100. 

Taxes, of nonresidents in Northwest 
Territory, 382; sale of land for, 274, 
285-286. See also public lands. 

Tazewell, Littleton W., 19, 

Tennessee, immigrants to Illinois, 60, 
90, 91, 92, 95. 

Texas, annexation, 389, 396. 

Thomas, Jesse B,, 321, 324, 340; con- 
vention leader, 138; election to United 
States Senate, 68, 318-319. 

Thomas, William, 99n, 341; on Hansen, 
8in. 

Tieriereau, Marie Josephe, 227, 228. 

Titles, Coles objects to aristocratic, 55. 

Tollman, Daniel, debtor to Edwardsville 
bank, 264-265. 

Tracts, anticonvention forces use, 126, 

33S, 359; 

prepared: by Birkbeck, 147, 148, 

151; by G. and C. Carville, 179-180; 

in Philadelphia, secretly, 128, 130; 

sent to St. Louis, 116. 

Trial by jury, under Ordinance of 1787, 

382. 

Troge, Charlotte, land claim, 226. 

Troge, Pierre, 226. 

Trotier, James, vote on convention 
resolution, 53. 

Turney, James, 82, 100; affidavit for 
Shaw, 76; sketch, loi; in suit against 
Coles, 159, 166, 207; vote on conven- 
tion resolution, 53. 

Tyler, John, 18, 396, 397. 

Union College, Hansen graduate, 78 

Union County, 72, 75, 102, 103, 106, 
266; members in legislature, 53; vote 
on convention resolution, 156. 

United States, treaty with England, 61. 

Upper Alton, 323n. 

Urquette, , 236 

Uzzell, Jordan, 308, 309. 



434 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



Vandalia, 54, 81, 86, io6n, 107, 141, 143; 
celebration at, 83; press, 144, 315, 358, 
359; proslavery meeting, 135; public 
opinion, 6^, 152. 

Vaux, Roberts, introduced to Coles, 
124-125; 

letter from: Coles, 7; on conven- 
tion, 133-134; on Hubbard's attemp- 
ted usurpation, libel suit, 178-179; on 
suit against Coles, 166-170; 

letter to: Coles, 7; on anticonven- 
tion victory, 174-175; on convention, 
127-129; offering services, 125-126; 
on possible meeting, 173-174; on 
tracts, 129-130; 

sketch, I25n; tribute to Coles, 171- 
172. 

Vergennes (Vt.)j 94. 

VIncennes, (Ind.), 62n, 377, 389. 

Virginia, 96, 120, 363, 368, 380, 381, 
382, 391; claim to Northwest Terri- 
tory, 377, 381; Coles leaves state, 40; 
Coles visits, 120, 121, 198, 291, 348, 
349; Illinois territory of, 59, 61; 
slavery policy, 182-184. 

Wadsworth, Jeremiah, vote on slavery 
clause of Northwest Ordinance, 379. 

Walker, Captain E., 90. 

Walpole (N. H.), 3ion. 

Wanborough, home of Morris Birkbeck, 
54n, 140, 

Wanborough (England), Birkbeck's 
birthplace, 140. 

War of 1 812, Biddle on, 30-32. 

Warren, Hooper, 153, 314; attitude 
toward Coles, 66, 137, 328, 344, 345- 
347> 351-352, 353-355, 357-358, 360- 
364; correspondence with Peck, on 
convention contest, 323-328, 328- 
332, 33'^-337, 337-344, 344-350, 351- 
356, 356-364; early acquaintance 
with Coles, 338; editor Edwardsville 
Spectator, 315; on Ford's History of 
Illinois^ 310-316; Smith attacks, 137; 
sketch, 3 1 on. 

Warren, W. A., io7n. 



Warren County (N.Y.), 80. 

Wash, R., 265. 

Washburne, Elihu B,, defends Field, 
104; Sketch oj Edward Coles, 5, 6. 

Washington, George, 395, 397; asks 
Birkbeck to manage estate, 367. 

Washington (D.C.), Coles visits, 121, 
198. 

Washington County, 120, 266; members 
of legislature, 52, k^^, 90, loi; vote on 
convention resolution, 156. 

Waterloo, 99n. 

Watkins, , attacks Warren, 

344, 351-352, 357- 

Wattles, Judge, 375; approves Coles 
inaugural, 54. 

Wayne County, 77, 266; members in 
legislature, 52, 53, 91; vote on con- 
vention resolution, 156. 

Webb, John, on Hansen, 80. 

West, Emanuel J., 100; contradictory 
vote, Shaw election, 77; connection 
with the Republican, 137; convention 
address committee, 107; convention 
leader, 138; leader of proslavery 
forces, 72; sketch, 101-102; in suit 
against Coles, 209. 

Western Citizen, see Free West. 

Wethersfield (Conn.), 94. 

Whig, 94, 105; political meeting, 1840, 
64-65. 

Whitby, , 248. 

White, Leonard, candidate for United 
States Senate, 318; vote on conven- 
tion resolution, 53. 

White County, 66, 77, 266; members In 
legislature, 53, 135; vote on conven- 
tion resolution, 156. 

Whiteside, James A., 100; vote on con- 
vention resolution, 53. 

Widen, Raphael, sketch, 89-90; vote on 
convention resolution, 53, 86, 86n. 

Widen, William S., son of Raphael 
Widen, 90. 

Wilette, Francis, 226, 230, 231, 242, 
243. 245, 247. 



INDEX 



435 



Will, Conrad, vote on convention reso- 
lution, 53; contradictory votes, Shaw 
election, 77. 

William and Mary College, Coles at- 
tends, 18, 330. 

Williamsburg (Va.), 18. 

Williamson, Hugh, vote on slavery 
clause of Northwest Ordinance, 380. 

Williamsville, 96. 

Wilson, William, 180, 185; chief justice, 
158; gives court opinion in suit of 
Edward Coles, 166, 214-221, 364. 

Wilson, , 293, 294, 295-296, 

298, 299. 302, 306, 307. 

Wiota (Wis.), i89n. 



Wirt, William, 19. 

Wisconsin, 90, 103, io6n, i89n; Shaw 
removes to, 65; support of Ordinance 
of 1787. 392. 

Woodman, Cyrus, i89n. 

Woodsworth, Charles, secretary anti- 
slavery society, 334. 

Yankees, loi; prejudice against, 60-61, 

339, 351- 
Yates, Robert, 394; vote on Ordinance 

of 1787, 382. 

Young, Richard M., convention leader, 
138. 



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